It’s around 10:00 pm West Coast time; I’m sitting in the dorm lounge with friends studying for finals. Of course, no one really “studies” for four hours straight. Let’s face it - everyone needs a break, or two, or ten. So we started talking about random things just for conversation to distract ourselves from thinking about final exams. One of my friends brought up an incident I hadn’t heard about: the Stanford sexual assault case. If you haven’t heard, a Stanford male athlete sexually assaulted an unconscious young woman. I would talk more into detail, but honestly…I can’t. Just reading the story online made me sick and I’m sure millions of other people felt the same way. I’m not going to talk about opinions over the whole thing, you know the whole “What’s really at fault? Him or the alcohol they drank?” I’m not going to tell you what I really think of the situation, but I am going to talk about one shockingly common thing: the abuse of women.
Now, can men also get abused? Yes, and hurting any person of any gender is terrible. I mean, have you heard of what happened with Emma Roberts and her boyfriend? She was charged for violently beating him up. But the reason why I’m specifically indicating women is because of how many cases of assault have come to light. As a female college student, I realize that anything can happen at a party – getting drunk, talking to people. No one even has to act all flirtatious. Sometimes, “things,” if you know what I mean, just happen. I’ve been to parties. Have I seen anything that looked suspicious of imminent abuse? No, I haven’t. Then again, how would I know? I was just there with friends having fun. Women have been reportedly – and some cases are unreported too – raped, hit, both, etcetera. It doesn’t even need to be at a college party. The other day, I was watching the news – a woman was walking down a street in Brooklyn at 3:00 am and a man just attacked her, and tried to beat her. This scared me too because I’ve walked around Brooklyn.
I’m not saying that everyone should live in fear. No one should be afraid of talking to guys; that’s no way to live your life. However, I think that this issue should be discussed. Domestic abuse among relationships has also been a problem, not just today, but for centuries. Back then, men would “punish” their wives for something and abuse them. This still happens today, in marriages and in unmarried couples. You’ve heard of women getting beaten up by their significant others. Some celebrities have been shown to be in troubling relationships, like what happened to Rihanna, or more recently, Johhny Depp’s wife, Amber Heard.
Matthew S. Anderson wrote a grappling and heartbreaking musical, Him and Her. His work emphasizes how manipulation can combine with hope throughout domestic violence within relationships. Anderson shows how it really is possible for anyone to unintentionally get involved in an abusive relationship. His play consists of mainly two people, a simple way to focus on how feelings of love between two people can become distorted into something entirely different.
I never understood why people, mainly women according to reports, chose to stay with their abusers. It continues to confuse me to this day, but after reading this musical, I saw how easy it is to become trapped in something. We all grew up knowing that it’s obviously wrong to hit others, but have you ever genuinely thought about how and why some people forget this notion, and just let go of morality? Him and Her can answer this question for you and let you into the mindsets of those who have struggled within abusive relationships. The music takes you into a certain perspective on how the characters think and act towards each other. You won’t know what to expect from this show. Come with an open mind and allow yourself to try to understand why people may think or do certain things. Even if you highly disagree.Him and Her will be playing at the Riant Theatre at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46th St, for the Strawberry Act-One Festival July 15th at 7pm, July 17th at 5pm, and July 25th at 9pm.