Monday, October 19, 2009

The Unfair Fight: Hit with the Reality of an Unhealthy Relationship

To further promote Domestic Violence Awareness, let's take a look at Robin Givens' book Grace Will Lead Me Home.

We all know Robin Givens as the beautiful actress who has appeared on The Cosby Show, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in Boomerang, and the Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues, just to name a few, but in her book Grace Will Lead Me Home, we are introduced to a young and naïve Robin Givens who falls victim to an abusive marriage to boxing champ Mike Tyson.

Givens guides us through her family tree and reveals the curse of domestic abuse that trickled down through the generations, from her grandmother and mother’s battle to her very own fight. Retelling stories that must have passed from generation to generation, Givens vividly depicts events that occurred before she was even born. She recounts her foremothers’ strength for leaving their abusive lovers with admiration and utter respect. As we are introduced to young Robin, amidst the nostalgic childhood memories she recreates with stories of her family, we witness the recurring cycle of an unfulfilling relationship with a father and the false fulfillment of a dysfunctional relationship.

Givens describes her early days with Michael (as she calls him) with the blissful innocence they shared as a young couple. But the tale quickly turns to terror. With the first blow, your heart stops with shock, and with every blow thereafter, your heart sinks as you imagine the heavyweight champion fighting an unfair fight with his petite and unsuspecting opponent. With each page, you feel anxious and dread for what is to come but you also feel a growing discomfort at the familiarity of her deep-seated desire to just enjoy what you know is not completely right. As she walks us through the roller coaster of her relationship, she elegantly constructs the story to convey the competing danger and innocence of each moment she and Michael spent together.

The moments get progressively worse to the point where she goes numb, and we lose Robin, and it is as if someone else is writing the story for her. Through her story, Givens allows us an outside perspective that one cannot see when lost in the situation. We can see, from a spectator’s perspective, how foolish thoughts and choices can be when clouded by the bliss.

We are witness to Givens reliving some of her lowest points in her life, but we also witness her beautiful restoration, in which she finds her spirit strengthened. While it may be difficult to read at times, Robin Givens shares a victory that will undoubtedly help another young woman conquer an abusive relationship.

Domestic abuse remains a very serious issue, and it is important that we educate ourselves on the matter and prevent it in any way we can. According to domestic abuse “occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person [sometimes using] fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and gain complete power over you.”

Be aware of the warning signs.

Bottom line: I’m not implying that all unhappy situations will result in domestic abuse, but if you are unhappy, you need to reevaluate the relationship. Trust your gut.

There are ample resources for information and support:;; National Domestic Violence Hotline (800.799.7233)

This post also appears on the Her Journey Blog.


  1. Hi!

    Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for dropping by my blog yesterday.

    It's was nice meeting you.

    Hey, this is a GREAT book review! You're a wonderful writer - BRAVA!

  2. All the while just about everyone around me at the time felt Robin Givens was a gold digger, I had no doubts within my mind that she was being open and honest concerning her claims that Mike Tyson physically abused her.

    This alone made me want to pick up the book @ As she walks us through the roller coaster of her relationship, she elegantly constructs the story to convey the competing danger and innocence of each moment she and Michael spent together.


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