Table of Contents
To begin with, domestic violence is an issue that has in the recent years become prevalent especially in the American society (Morrison, Biehl, and Inter-American Development Bank 107). Regarding domestic violence, several treatments have been applied to the issue among them being the self defense that assumes the murder of the batterer by the battered. So to speak, the film "Enough" Directed by Michael Apted is a portrayal of domestic violence and the aftermath effects. Since the Film reflects on the way domestic violence has affected particularly women in America, together with the way the issue is treated on the basis law and moral perspectives, description of the film by means of its plot will provide an overview of the whole issue. In connection to this, the plot of the film will be brought into view.
Plot of the Film
The film opens with Slim who happens to be a working class waitress of the southern California diner. In line with this, Mitch who is a customer defends Slim from obscene remarks directed to her by a customer. As a result, they fall in love and then they marry (Ebert 92). Eventually, they get a baby girl by the name Gracie. Mitch is a rich and powerful man as portrayed by the film but there are some factors in which he fails as in the unfolding of events Slim realizes that he had been cheating on her. Mitch continues in his unfaithfulness despite the fact that he kept on apologizing to Slim. Things became even tougher when one day Slim cautions him for having realized that he had a mistresses’ perfume as he came from work.
In response, Mitch slaps her on the face and then punches her neck. According to the provision of Law, the only thing that can be done to Mitch is to be imprisoned for a short while and then released. This would translate to the child being protected by the state programs thus losing her and again drugs would be planted on her. In the same line of thought, Slim would be at risk of being killed by the husband once he is released from the jail. Since the law proves to be of no help to her, Slim flees with Grace her daughter by the help of her friends. Thinking that all would be well, Mitch freezes her accounts and stops all her credit cards. This then leads them to flee to a motel whereby they are found by Mitch. The chase becomes tough but they finally manage to escape by means of a public bus.
Following the escape, Slim and Gracie her daughter manage to move to Seattle whereby it happens that she meets her former boyfriend Joe who still has affection towards her. In the intervening time, Slim turns to Robbie who had formerly abused her verbally in the dinner. This happens in the Los Angeles Police Department and it is unveiled that Mitch and Robbie have done so in many incidents as they play the good guy/bad guy, a gamble for sex hoax. To her astonishment, Slim discovers that Mitch had several mistresses. In line with this, Mitch then discovers where Joe lives and sends three men in the name of FBI agents to seek for Slim and Gracie her daughter. This is followed by a threat by one of those men who had a pocket knife. Nonetheless, their effort proved to be an exercise in futility.
In addition to this, slim and Grace then flees again by the help of the so called her at odds father Jupiter together with her former boss who was a father figure Phil but unfortunately Mitch manages to make a track of them and then confronts them face to face (Ebert 92). This happens in Michigan but Slim happens to break free and sends Gracie to stay for duration of a month with the friend known as Ginny. By the help of Jupiter, Slim manages to train in the Krav Maga, a process that prepared her emotionally and physically to embark on a self defense. In effort to fight that Mitch may leave her alone, she visits Mitch in his new beach house. In order to accomplish this, she breaks in the house of Mitch and ensures that there was no potential weapon.
In this sense she was able to familiarize with the layout of the house. She also plants some letters that suggested her meeting with Mitch to talk about the custody hearing of Gracie their only daughter. By so doing, Slim would manage to get in the house of Mitch, kill him and put the claim that it was for self defense. On his return home, Slim overpowers Mitch and attacks him. However, she is unable to kill him. In the process she pays a call to Ginny of whom she inquires of what do to with Mitch (Ebert 93). Unfortunately, Mitch manages to wake and knocks Slim down by means of a lamp. In the course of action, Ginny is panic-stricken over the phone and Mitch then hangs up. Eventually, Slim then recovers and turns the tables around on Mitch. This led to Mitch falling two floors and then dies on landing on a glass table by his back. In the course of time, police arrives having been informed by Ginny to come for the rescue of Slim.
Contrastingly, she points to them that Mitch was inside unharmed and that he was no longer precarious as before. This lead to the officer making the remark that Slim was one of the lucky ones. Afterwards, Slim goes to the airport, reunites with Gracie and finally Slim and Gracie moves back to Seattle leading to a reunion with Joe without fear and a new life began.
Portrayal of violence in the Film
Having given a brief overview of the plot of the film, there seems to be an aspect of domestic violence as Slim is slapped and punched when she questions Mitch for cheating on her. The threats that Mitch would kill her reveal the extent of the violence caused by Mitch in the house. Since the law does not stand to protect the weak woman who is battered all through, the only way of escape is fleeing. In the face of law, the woman has got no segment that leads to her being protected from the domestic violence. Due to this factor, Slim is running up and down with Mitch taking the advantage of chasing her. In this regard, Mitch finally comes into face to face with Slim in her effort to escape, a time that gives Slim another thought to resolve to self defense at any cost. The law in this case has failed and self defense or rather vigilante would be the only way. In America, statistics reveal that there are many women who are victims of domestic violence yet the law remains silent in protecting the battered woman.
Slim goes for training in order to prepare enough on the physical and psychology to face and fight Mitch in order to achieve her freedom. There seems to be the manipulation, dictatorship and misuse of power by the male individuals who batter their women without being judged by law. A male partner who murders in America today is jailed for duration of two to six years a smaller number of years compared to their female counterparts who are jailed for an average of fifteen years on murder. There is some biasness that has been brought into view in the film in that the women in the society have become the most vulnerable in domestic violence carried out by men (Morrison, Biehl, and Inter-American Development Bank 82). Many men have made it a tradition to batter their women as they are not protected by law and in any case, law is not applied for those that batter their wives.
After one incidence of battering, another one is applied and since there are no legal rights to protect the woman in the society against such brutality, the male partners continue. As a consequence, there is a lot that Slim does in terms of running in order to escape the brutality. Although the law exists, there seems to be no way that Slim can be helped. As a consequence, Slim resolves to apply self defense of which she ends up killing the abuser, Mitch. This is only the way that Slim gains her freedom.
Cases of women killing their abusers or batterers have increased in the current era as a way to escape the abuse and brutality from their partners. This is well described as taking law in ones hand and exercising self protection. Slim in this case, portrayed an aspect of self defense since the justice system had failed to address her problems. She finally manages to kill the husband who threatened her life continually. By so doing, Slim is able to start on a new life without being threatened. In this case, Slim is only trying to repair a broken criminal justice that fails to execute its powers. This is to bring out the meaning that, a battered woman who kills her husband is only bringing moral order and reminding the society and the justice system that something ought to be done in order to give women their rights.
As such, the Film "Enough" Directed by Michael Apted, has both moral and legal issues that arise. At the performance of the film, many individuals had negative attitude towards it as it appeared that by the law failing to punish Slim, it was encouraging women to kill their battering husbands even when Battered women Syndrome is not applied. However, there are varied opinions from different people. The only way that Slim would have escaped from the hands of Mitch the husband was only through a counter reaction best described as self defense. Across the United States of America today, millions of women are battered by their partners in their life time. Apart from what is portrayed in the film, there are other cases of battered women killing their partners in self defense. The law system may be justified to question the woman of the main reason that made her to stay with the husband despite the fact that she is abused by the husband, but, this is of no help regarding the fact that battered women are on the increase with others being beaten to an extent of being hospitalized while others are killed (Rosenberg, and Fenley 123). This is morally wrong and it is not justified at all. That is the reason why, the jury should stand out to allow nullification of law as it has such an authority and stand out to correct the moral decay portrayed by the law. This would translate to perpetuation of justice to those that it has been denied.
According to Ayyildiz (1995), an example of a woman who killed her husband owing to the fact that he had raped her and beaten her with wooden two-by-fours threatening to kill her is given (1). Despite the fact that she was doing this act as a self defense, she was subsequently convicted by a jury of a first degree murder case and she was sentenced to serve a twenty five year life sentence. Due to such like treatments being applied to the disadvantaged women in America today, the element of many women being abused by their partners is menacingly increasing. The law does not protect the battered woman but instead it gives room for her being abused and when she fights back in self protection she is punished. This is morally wrong and thus battered women who kill should be treated as to be acting as vigilante who seeks to self protect their welfare.
Sorry to say, the batterers are given the unfair advantage over the woman whenever he beats her. Again, the batterer gains power, domination and acquires the right to pay no attention to the laws against battery (Ayyilldiz 2). From a moral point of view, the women have become disadvantaged as there seems to be no justice system that protects them from being abused by their spouses. Whereas the justice system sentences them for killing their abusive partners, they offer no protection for women’s rights.
This marks the core aim of the film , Slim cannot get helped within the kind of justice system she lives and therefore the only way of escape is to take the law in her own hands by killing Mitch who remains to be a threat to her life both in the present and future. If a woman kills the man who keeps on abusing her unfairly, she is only trying to make a correction on the justice system that seems not to care for battered women who are left their lives being in the mercy of their ruthless husbands. Morality states that a morally justified individual is the one who acts after making an evaluation of all possible demands (Ayyilldiz 2).
From a war point of view, a state is justified to forcefully defend itself in face of war. In this case, the domestic violence that makes a great percentage of women a victim should be fought and law should be applied in order to protect the rights of women (Cole and Smith 419). A woman who kills her battering partner is justified in the law of defense to kill the husband if she believes that the only way for her freedom is by self defense. In line with these, the law and moral issues that surround battered woman who kills are quiet numerous. From the content of the film, Slim who had suffered abuse from her partner Mitch, even at a time when she manages to escape, the husband haunts her and keeps on following her from city to city.
The issues of law that arise in this film is that the judicial justice system seems to have failed in its power to protect an individual who is being abused. Notably, statistics have shown that in American State, the treatment of the abusers who direct their abuse to women is not treated with carefulness (Buzawa and Buzawa, 101). In one instance, there is a woman who kept on calling police to help her against the abuse that was from the husband. Instead of the police helping her, they told her to deal with her husband as this was a domestic issue. This shows how much, a battered woman has been mistreated and disadvantaged in the face of law. In this case, McBride who kept on calling for help from the police and even family therapy organization in vain, resolved to hire somebody to kill the husband as the only way that she could escape torment. In this regard, she was later convicted of murder and sentenced to a life in prison without parole (Ayyidiz 6).
This reveals how the judicial justice system has failed in its position to protect the battered woman. Another incident occurred whereby Ellie Nesler killed her son’s abuser; the incident was at first applauded in the local but later was rejected by media and public and later sentenced for ten years in prison (Ayyildiz 7). Despite the fact that she did what was morally right in a porous legal system, she was severely punished. As compared to their male relations, women have been disadvantaged in the legal system that protects the men and fails the women. This is for the reason that incidents of men killing are numerous but a few of them get the punishment and others are not at all punished. So to speak, the incidence of Goetz according to Ayyidiz (1995), has presented him as a male superhero who is a vigilante but due to the biasness that has described the judicial justice system, he is not given the treatment as the way it is applied to women vigilantes who kill their battering partners (6-7).
From the point of view of the film, Slim presents the majority of women whom fall victims of the domestic violence. With the law, the women have waited for long in their homes suffering from the abuse of their partners in vain. The judicial justice system seems to be not aware of what the domestic violence has held women into. The society seem to protect only the archetypal male vigilante of which the male counterparts who kill are not subjected to the same punishment as their women counterparts. Although, the women should be protected there are no interventions even when the matters are reported to the law (Buzawa and Buzawa, 163). As a result, the battered women just as Slim keeps on running and fleeing from a danger that is always following her. Having nobody to turn to, the only way that Slim would have gotten rid of the abuse was killing the husband. This has been the reason many battered women kill their abusers, yet, we live in a society that such a woman who kills as a battered woman vigilante, is neglected and her situation undermined. This has always led to many of these women being imprisoned for life.
Some critics of the film state that the film has got no moral value as it only validates the position of the women to resolve to killing. This is for the reason that when police comes after Slim has killed, the film cuts short abruptly and nothing that is done to Slim. Later, she is shown as a happy woman in reunion with Joe and Gracie. The Film is viewed by the critics as to be morally wrong, nonetheless, it should be pointed out that the Film stands out to expose the weakness of the law and the judicial system in protecting the rights of the women. It also serves to show the society and the legal system that is justifiable for a battered woman to kill her abuser if the legal system fails in its position to protect her.
In consistent with this, the film has exposed the extent of domestic violence and its effects of which the victim is the woman. In her effort to protect her self in the failing legal system she is hindered by being jailed (Cole and Smith 423). This shows how unfair the world has become to the battered woman who keeps on being abused and there seems to be no one to realize it. Due to this cause, she should be allowed to act as a vigilante and source for her own protection. In obedience to the law by not retaliating when abused, the woman, when she acts in self defense she is given the treatment of a villain. This is also encouraged by the mere fact that she is just a woman.
The society should in actual fact learn that there is need for the battered woman to be protected by law whereas the dependency on self will and decisions will be preferred to what the government has to offer. In accordance to this, it is permissible on the basis of contract theory that if the state fails in its obligation to protect an individual, it may translate to its dissolution (Ayyidiz 5). As a consequence, the individual is permitted to act on his or her self defense. Following this point, a battered woman who kills her abuser, is tolerable on these grounds to kill as she is only carrying out a punishment on the abuser whereby the state has failed.
Generally, the film’s point of view in regard to the law and moral instruction it offers implicitly on the issue of self defense is approved and justified. This is because, where the law and state has failed in its obligation to protect the individual, he or she is allowed to carry out the punishment in self defense. Some condemn this action, but is worthy to say that a battered woman who kills her abuser should be viewed as one that is correcting social order where the law has failed and is morally right together with the fact that that is only the way out for her to attain her freedom. Moreover, it is like that for all women victimized by domestic violence.