Originally created 10/17/00

Award-winning country music video urges violence

As executive director of the Domestic Violence Intervention Center of the Central Savannah River Area, to say I was appalled to see the Dixie Chicks win all the Country Music Association awards for their video, Earl Must Die, would be an understatement. I am very disturbed by the negative message this controversial video sends about domestic violence.

The video depicts the story of a very young girl right out of high school who marries a much older man who immediately starts to abuse her. She takes out several restraining orders to no avail.

She calls her girlfriend and they plot Earl's murder. They poison his peas, put him in a body bag and roll him into a ravine. They put his picture on a milk carton as a "missing person." They open a fruit stand and stand around singing Earl is missing, but no one is missing Earl.

This negates everything we teach in our support groups and anger management classes. It sends the message that the only way out of a domestic violence situation is through the death of one party or the other and that such a death is a joyful event.

The reality is that if there are children involved they lose both parents, one to death and one to prison. The reality is that the death of anyone due to domestic violence is a tragedy.

We have a former victim on our staff who killed her abuser in self-defense and still served six years in prison. She missed six irreplaceable years of her son's life. Still, it could have been worse. Statistics show that two-thirds of the teen-age male inmates who are in prison for murder are there for killing their mom's abuser.

I implore you to send a message that tells victims to seek shelter and help from support groups before committing tragic violence.

Sandra K. Johnson, Augusta


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