What Big Little Lies Gets Right About Domestic Violence

Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO.
There's a new HBO series premiering this weekend called Big Little Lies, based on the addicting novel by Liane Moriarty. People who have read the book acknowledge that it's a touch melodramatic, maybe slightly trashy, and the perfect "beach read," because the plot revolves around the lives of PTA-perfect moms in an elementary school by the beach. But the plot is far from cookie-cutter, and it's laced with brutally realistic details about an abusive and violent marriage.

The show will definitely get people talking, if not about the cliffhangers, because it's such a disturbingly accurate portrayal of what it's like to be in an abusive relationship — or at least it will be if it sticks to how the book portrays it. But since it would be pretty uncharacteristic of Hollywood to include every detail from an adapted book's plot, and because we haven't seen the series yet, we can only hope that they do the topic justice.

"Seeing domestic violence covered in books creates a conversation that's not intimidating," says Cameka Crawford, Chief Communications Officer for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. "The only way we're going to eventually end domestic violence is when we're having conversations and taking away the stigma of talking about it." So, lets talk about it.

We spoke to counselors and spokespeople from two domestic abuse and violence hotlines and shelters about the intricacies of the abusive relationship between two of the main characters in the book, Celeste and Perry (played in the show by Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård). Here are some of the truths about this complex, volatile, and sadly very realistic relationship.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.