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Song and dance for an important message

By Lance Cpl. Jonah Lovy | Marine Aircraft Group 31 | September 29, 2015


More than 300 Marines and sailors attended the performance “Domestic Violence: The Musical” at the Lasseter Theatre aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Sept. 29.

The show, produced by the Fix the Hurt company, is a creative take on traditional military training that uses dance and musical numbers to educate service members about the causes and prevention methods of domestic violence.

“This is a play that we have been presenting across America at different military installations,” said Linda King, the founder and president of Fix the Hurt. “We started performing domestic violence training in 2006 and we realized that the performing arts are an effective way to raise awareness and really get the attention of the people that need to hear our message.”

The musical combined comedy, real-life situations, and audience participation to tell a story of a woman trapped in an abusive relationship. The show offered a unique and powerful way in which the actors portrayed their parts.   

“It was an intense performance these men and women displayed,” said Cmdr. William Holiman, the MCAS Beaufort Chaplain. “I think it really got through to these Marines in ways that other forms of education would not.”

The performers laid out topics that are seldom discussed,such as the physiological reasons for why victims tend to stay with their abusers and how criticizing a victims’ actions gives the abuser more power.  

“One of the things that we are very proud of is that we have outstanding actors who are able to use their skills to communicate a message through lyrics and dance,” said King. “They help people understand the escalation of domestic violence and that it doesn’t necessarily start out with a hit or a punch. It is a slow steady escalation of control and isolation. Those are the main things that you have to watch for when helping a victim of domestic violence.”

According to domesticviolencestatistics.org, one in three women have been a victim of abuse from a family member or loved one and it is the leading cause of injury to females. However, domestic violence affects both men and women.

 “Victims can be male or female. We don’t want to ever give the message that all victims are women because that is just not the case,” said King. “The majority of cases with male victims goes unrecorded because they just do not want to report it.”

One of the goals of Fix the Hurt is to help service members recognize the signs of domestic violence and know what to do if a friend or co-worker is in trouble. At the end of each performance there is a chance for the audience to speak up, share stories and ask questions.

“The response has been tremendous,” said King. “The audience members that speak out during our question and answer session ask really important questions that help promote prevention. One of our many goals is to get people to open up and initiate that communication between their friends and their neighbors. We want viewers to understand what is appropriate to say and what does not help the situation.”

The Marine Corps is an organization that looks out for its own so it is important for new Marines and their leadership to learn this information together. Every Marine has a responsibility to watch for the signs and help those in need.

“I am encouraged to see many senior Marines here today with the younger crew,” said Holiman. “It’s important for everyone in the chain of command to understand and appreciate the message presented. Domestic violence affects the Marine Corps and Navy in many ways and the best way for leaders to look out for everyone is to be educated about the warning signs.”

“Domestic Violence: The Musical” has plans to continue touring the country and bring their message to military communities.

“Last year, we did 18 performances in five weeks across seven states,” said King. “This year, we will have about 15 performances across six states. We are just happy that the military has latched on to this method of presenting domestic violence awareness and education.”