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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

'Precious' themes of abuse should disturb and embolden



Not long ago, I went to the movies. It was the first time since my daughter’s birth. That’s nearly two Mom_precious years without movie popcorn. And yes, I’m counting.

What got me out to the theater was the Oscar buzz around the movie, Precious, and the fact that my in-laws were in town (baby sitter, check!). Popcorn and ridiculously-sized soda in hand, I quickly settled into my seat. The movie was very well done. The role of Precious, a serially-abused child, was convincingly played by a neophyte actress. And comedienne Mo' Nique gave a jaw-dropping performance as the abusive mom. I can see how the film might appeal to Academy members in a totally, depressing Slumdog Millionaire sort of way.

I won’t spoil the plot for those of you who have yet to see it or read the book from which it was adapted. But I will tell you that it sickened me to see a mother verbally, physically and sexually abuse her child. As if that weren’t enough, the mother watched while the child’s father raped her repeatedly. Oh, Precious. Bless you.

I am thankful the book and movie were fictional accounts. But I left the theater disturbed because I know that is some child's reality. How could any mother knowingly allow someone to sexually abuse her child? (And I will let this little factoid slip so you might understand my rage: the abuse started when Precious was 3.) Equally heart wrenching was the fact that the abused child’s grandmother knew what was going on. And she kept silent.

So I am making this plea far and wide: Please. If you know someone who is the victim of abuse, say something to someone or some agency in a position to help. Do something. Even if you’re scared. Please. The safety of our children, boys and girls, depends on it.

-- Sherri Day

[Lionsgate: Nurse John (Lenny Kravitz) sits with Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) in Precious.]

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:04am]


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