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“Girl Just Leave…” : 5 Things We Can Learn About Domestic Violence Through Keyshawn.

“…..Why doesn’t she just leave him already,”

Everyone has this notion that they know exactly what they would do in certain situations, but the truth of the matter is that you really don’t know how you are going to respond to a situation until it knocks on your door.

For many victims of domestic violence leaving isn’t that simple.

It is estimated that every 60 seconds 24 people experience abuse by their partner in the U.S. That pans out to be more than 12 million people a year. 1 out of 4 women, and 1 out of 7 men will experience domestic violence in their life.

Although anyone can experience domestic violence, I want to explore the rates for African American women. Approximately 40% of Black women have experienced domestic violence, and more than half of the murders of Black women have been because of domestic violence.

Black women play the role of the protector and often put the feelings and needs of others before their own. They don’t necessarily want to turn an abusive partner into law enforcement especially in the current climate that we are in. They don’t want to risk the chance of him being killed by the police or becoming another statistic. So they choose to put their partner’s needs before their own.

So what can we learn about Domestic violence through Miss Mississippi??

The past few episodes of P-Valley explored Keyshawns life. We watched her backstory as her life with Derrick unfolds. The good, the bad, the ugly; But what can we learn about domestic violence through Keyshawns story?

1. Intersectionally

Well for one Keyshawn is a Black woman from a lower socioeconomic status. Black women are the most oppressed group within the U.S. They are at the intersection of racism and sexism. When we throw in Keyshawns socioeconomic and job status you’re just met with more oppression and lack of respect from others.

There are many reasons why Black women suffer disproportionately from domestic violence, and intersectionality is one of those reasons. Black women are at the intersection of Racism and sexism which are two of the biggest obstacles that Black women in America face. The strong black women troupe also plays a role.

In addition to the racism that Keyshawn experiences via Derrick she also struggles with a lot of internalized hate and diminished self-worth. Which mainly steams from the black community. Growing up she was told that her dark skin was not beautiful and was subjected to colorism. Colorism within the Black community is a leading factor of a lot of internalized hate and it’s something we see daily. This internalized hate can lead women to feel as though they are less than. Which can lead them to settle for less because they don’t believe that they deserve better.

So when Derrick shows up as her knight in shining armor Keyshawn feels special.

Where’s my knight in shining armor?

2. Lack of support

Many girls fantasize about the knight in shining armor fairytale. As we watched Keyshawns backstory we saw how she got a taste of that fairytale. When Derrick showed up and took her to the school dance she quickly fell for him. She ended up getting pregnant. Derrick’s family did not like that he was with a Black girl and his parents kick him out. Keyshawn is kicked out by her stepmother because of the teenage pregnancy. They eventually moved in together, but towards the end of her pregnancy, Derrick became both verbally and physically abusive. When she tried to leave him to go back to her father’s house, her stepmother does not welcome her back. Which left her with nowhere to go but back to Derrick.

This lack of support is another reason why victims of domestic violence stay in these relationships. We see this pattern show up again during the Dirty Dozens tour. While on tour Keyshawn is away from Derrick and is living her best life until her manager Rome tries to sexually assault her. This incident makes her run back into the arms of Derrick once again.

This season also highlights how COVID has impacted people’s everyday lives. Being in quarantine… at home… with whoever you live with.

3. Isolation

Typically what is seen in domestic violence cases is that the abuser will Isolation the victim. whether it’s limiting how much they see or interact with their family/ friends, or determining how much time they spend away from the home. In Keyshawns case a different light was shinned on the situation.

During the beginning of the pandemic,, domestic violence rates sky increased simply because victims were literally stuck in the house all day with their abusers because of the shutdown. The show even highlighted how Keyshawn had a plan to leave. Attempted to leave and was unsuccessful. While Derrick was gone she tried to leave the house with her kids once she got to her car she found out that Derrick sabotaged the car so she couldn’t go anywhere. He also made her share her location on her phone with him so he could know where she was at all times.

4. Children

Many women are reluctant to leave their abusers and drag their feet in doing so because of children. Some fear that they will lose custody of their child if they leave or divorce their partner. Some fear that the abuser will hurt or even kill their children. Some people are afraid of what will happen during visitation when they are not around. When Keyshawn left to go on the Dirty Dozen tour she left the kids with Derrick. Upon returning home she discovered that her son had bruises on his body which she later found out were caused by Derrick.

5. Finances

As mentioned earlier Keyshawn comes from a lower socioeconomic status. In the beginning of the relationship, Derrick was the provider Keyshawn did not have the means to leave. Which is the case in many domestic violence cases. Because of multiple factors such as the impacts of covid, children, and the rising cost of living many women cannot afford to just leave their partner.

It’s not that easy to leave. Many people in these situations have thought about leaving, and even made attempts to leave but were unsuccessful. Some feel stuck because of the lack of support or resources. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence there are a few resources listed below.


National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233

Willow Domestic Violence Center Call (585) 222-SAFE (7233)

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