A Positive Message in the Atmosphere

A Positive Message in the Atmosphere

Loveisrespect is excited to see Minneapolis-based independent hip-hop group Atmosphere’s new video for the single “The Last To Say.” MTV premiered the video today on their blog, explaining that “Atmosphere aims his storytelling prowess at the disturbing cycles of domestic abuse in his poignant new video for ‘The Last To Say.’”

 

Atmosphere confronts the damaging effects of domestic abuse on a family and the lasting harm it leaves on children witnesses. Just because someone that grew up in a violent home doesn’t mean they will become abusive themselves, but they can still internalize the aggression for years to come. The video expresses familiar issues to teens and young adults who are, directly or indirectly, experiencing dating violence themselves.

Sean “Slug” Daley, half of the Atmosphere duo, empowers viewers when he tells MTV that “The best way to prevent [domestic violence] is to get out of that relationship. There are a lot of organizations that help people get safe by removing them from those situations.” Daley encourages that “Making someone aware of the situation you’re in is difficult, but reaching out and asking for help and finding a way to protect yourself is the most important thing.”

While we know that leaving is never an easy or one step process, we appreciate Atmosphere’s emphasis on regaining control in an abusive relationship. If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship violence, reaching out for help is a brave first move in the right direction.

We at loveisrespect want to praise MTV for their coverage of this video and Atmosphere for taking a stand against domestic violence. What other artists do you know of that are doing their part to raise awareness and prevention about domestic abuse and dating violence?

Comment section

2 replies
  1. I don’t find this a positive message at all. The song lyrics constantly blame the woman for staying in the abusive relationship, which is a common criticism women (and men) in this situation receive and is tantamount to blaming them for the violence. This attitude totally ignores the many factors that mean it can be extremely difficult for a person to leave an abusive relationship:

    1. often the abusive partner becomes very loving after a period
    of violence – seeking forgiveness and promising it will never happen again, which makes it hard to leave – why leave when he’s being so nice to you?;

    2. abusive partners can isolate their victims and cut them off from social ties so that they have nowhere to go if they do leave;

    3. abusive partners can criticise their victims so much that their self esteem is destroyed and they think that noone else would want them even if they do leave;

    4. abusive partners may control their victims’ finances so they cannot support themselves if they leave;

    5. there may be children involved and it is harder either to find accommodation with children or to decide to leave them behind;

    6. migrant women whose legal residence status depends on their partner will have no recourse to public services they need such as women’s refuges if they leave their abusive partner; they might not speak the language of the country they are in or have even been able to leave the house so won’t know the local area;

    7. families have been known to persuade women having fled their abusive partner to go back to him and “try to make it work” – the assumption is that it is somehow her fault, that she is better off with a man and that it is “shameful” if she is either single or if it is known that she left because of violence;

    8. social norms portray and accept men as strong, aggressive and even violent beings and women as weak, passive ones – the violence can be perceived as normal by a woman who has been brought up to believe in these norms or can be belittled by onlookers who believe in them.

    There are of course many other reasons why it is not that easy to leave an abusive relationship, but these are the ones that came to mind just now.

    Thanks to Atmosphere for having the courage to bring up the theme of intimate partner violence – it is still a taboo in many, if not all societies today – but I’d like them and others to think about the implications of blaming people who experience violence rather than its perpetrators.
    Thanks for reading.

  2. Hi Suzie, thanks so much for posting — you bring up some good points. We’re glad you brought up how the song’s “author” speaks to the victim.

    We were calling it positive for some of the reasons you outlined. Atmosphere takes on, as you said, a taboo issue that is very much relevant and needs to be talked about. Also, we like seeing a song from the perspective of a bystander. You’re right to say that his words could be seen as harsh towards the victim. We do think that his approach/tone towards her is common from friends and family looking from the outside of an abusive situation.

    Often bystanders are concerned for the victim, but feel powerless in their inability to help. This concern can come across in a way that seems to attack the very person they’re trying to help. While we agree with you that this is not the way to support a survivor, we’re excited to see a bystander intervening, even if imperfectly done.

    In addition, the video approaches a topic not frequently shown in these videos — the impact of domestic violence on a child. You bring up an awesome point that people need to more openly discuss these issues, too often swept under the rug.

    Thanks again for commenting!

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