Longmire Takes on Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is actually a common occurrence all across America, especially on Native reservations. I think that’s why it is so important that a drama like Longmire, which takes place near and on a Native American reservation include it in it’s story. It shines a light on something that is usually a family secret that few outsiders get to see.
One of the great things about Longmire as a show, they build things up without you really being aware of where it is going. Walt and his deputies are working a case about treasure hunters, all the while the real story is happening with Cady.
Cady started her free legal aid center, but hasn’t gotten anyone looking for help since no one trusts a white woman. A young woman named Mandy ran into her office to hide from her ex-boyfriend after stealing something from her friend and the ex’s current wife, Asha. At first it seems like just two girls fighting over a man who gave the same necklace to both of them (not the same looking, but the exact same necklace from one girlfriend to the other). But then the layers get peeled back and it’s a case of domestic violence, with the wife reaching a point of fearing for her life.
Since Cady got involved with the friend, she gets wrapped up in the DV situation and offers to help file a restraining order against the husband. She delivers it, and takes Asha in her center to hide out. However, the husband tracks her down and begs to be taken back in, saying he went to an AA meeting and promising to stop drinking and never hurt her again.
Much like what happens in real life, Asha believes him at first. She starts to say she forgives him and wishes she had never filed the restraining order and would like to revoke it. The show did a good job of showing the cycle that DV victims go through. First its the baseline, where everything is just like in a normal relationship; second, something small inevitably sets off the abuser and there is violence; third, the abuser apologizes and begs forgiveness promising change; and finally, the victim accepts the apology and returns to step one, or they wise up and leave. Unfortunately, the latter is the most common one. And when the cycle repeats, things may actually even be better than a normal relationship because the abuser is trying to make up for what they did.
Asha was in the middle of the third step, and almost ready to take him back. Many would ask why anyone would so readily return to such an unhealthy relationship. But Asha explained it perfectly, saying “I don’t want the police; I just want things to be better.” The times when there is no abuse, everything is so great that the victim wants to just hang on to it. They love the good side of the person, like honest wholehearted love for half the person.
The victim oftentimes blame themselves, saying if only they hadn’t done that one thing to make their abuser mad everything would have been fine. Humans are wired to see cause and effect. The victim sees their actions as the cause, and the violence is the effect. They don’t realize that being in a relationship with the abuser is itself the cause, not their actions.
Lucky for Asha, Cady finds a flaw in his story. The AA chip he gives is one you get for being sober over a year. Unless he had a time machine, there was no way he could have gotten that chip from going to one meeting. He walks away, and Asha seems like she is on her way to the fourth step of leaving the relationship. That is, until he comes back with a gun.
Cady ends up grabbing the gun Nighthorse gave her and ends up in a standoff and kills the husband in a shootout with the husband in order to protect Asha. She gets interviewed by the tribal police and it seems like a case of self-defense, although they collect a lot of evidence just in case. Her lawyer says as long as Asha backs her story theirs nothing to worry about. And then Asha busts in yelling Cady murdered her husband. A DV victim is so loyal to their husbands that not even death can part them.
What’s funny though is while Asha may not be on her side, the reservation has become more receptive to her. They took a liking to a white woman willing to shoot a white man to protect one of their own. Cady, however, is not proud of her actions and wishes none of it ever happened. Which is also a true portrayal; unless you’re a sociopath or trained to kill multiple times, killing someone takes a deep toll on the killer. It doesn’t matter that it was justified.
Hopefully anyone who watched the show learn the signs for DV, and end up with more understanding for what the victims go through.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–7233 for information on emergency shelters and counseling. The locations for shelter are typically kept secret, and they take precautions to keep from being tracked; so be prepared to give up your cellphone and any other electronic devices.