Reeva Steenkamp & Babes Wodumo under the spotlight in toxic love doccie
When women called in to her radio show to describe how they were hurt, bruised and battered in poisoned relationships, veteran journalist Iman Rappetti questioned what kept them from leaving.
She wants to be a part of as many conversations that unmask abuse as possible, and is the host of Loved Like Crazy, a one-off documentary focusing on high-profile abusive relationships that will be screened on DStv next month.
They include Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, Sandile Mantsoe and Karabo Mokoena, Mampintsha and Babes Wodumo, and Frederik Bossert and Annelise Kriek.
“Universal and particular at the same time. These women are all of us.”
This is the message Loved Like Crazy, which casts a new lens on toxic love, hopes to relay.
Rappetti, a former eNCA news anchor and Power Talk host, said that while the cases that come under the microscope were told well, producers wanted to use the cycle of violence to assess how things went wrong.
“We aimed for a less voyeuristic, less ‘watching’ approach and more about a witnessing that allows us to interrogate where we are with the ones we love and who say they love us back,” she said.
In the documentary, Rappetti herself steps back in time to recount her own experience with domestic violence.
She told the Sunday Times this week how for a “brief yet dark period” her father physically abused her mother.
“They would fight in a way that made racist epithets flood out of his mouth along with blood from a cut cheek or swollen eye.
They would fight in a way that made racist epithets flood out of his mouth along with blood from a cut cheek or swollen eye
I wondered why my mum stayed, and felt that in some way — we never really spoke about it — she accepted it as part and parcel of her female experience.”
Rappetti said that growing up she witnessed many women in her community swap stories with only a “tinge of regret and the uniformity of acceptance”.
“The hurt of that experience has engraved me in a way that affects how I relate to men. And it’s only in my later life that I am rewiring myself and how I relate to them.”
Rappetti added that casting a new perspective on abuse would allow people to see the scourge differently.
“It is hard to map behaviourally whether any of these stories have changed the face of abuse or impacted a choice to stay or go. I’m hopeful that in reflecting we all see ourselves and we at least start a conversation with ourselves and possibly those we love.”
Producer Penny Peppa told The Sunday Times that they hope Loved Like Crazy will have a meaningful impact by deepening the understanding around partner abuse.
“What does it look and feel like? What are the red flags? How does it escalate and when does it become potentially lethal?” she said.
• The documentary 'Loved Like Crazy' will air on December 9 on Lifetime on DStv (channel 131).
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