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Between Friends tackles domestic abuse topic

Starting last week and into this week, Sandra Bell-Lundy’s Between Friends is tackling the sensitive topic of domestic abuse. The topic is close to home – not from personal experience, but in an introduction to the topic on her blog, Sandra writes that in reconnecting with a friend from high school years ago and learning that her friend was a an abuse survivor, has spurred the need to address the topic with her feature.

I have been thinking about doing a Between Friends series loosely based on my friend, Anne for quite some time. I asked her a few years back if she would mind if I formally interviewed her with that intention. I told her I would treat her to dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant. How could she say no?

In the back of my mind, I thought I would use my character, “Kim” as the person involved in the story. She is the character who writes and I thought she could come across a woman in the park one day while she was walking her dog. She thinks the woman she meets is in some kind of distress but nothing is obvious. Over time she realizes the woman is being battered. Being a writer could open her up to doing research or something. This is just a general idea I thought I would work into a story after Anne and I sat down and really talked.

Of course, life is busy and Anne and I got together a few times but never to get down to focusing on an actual interview.

Then, a little over a month ago, I started writing a series about Maeve running into an old school mate. The school mate manoevers Maeve into meeting for lunch. One thing leads to another. Next week, in my strip, Maeve realizes the school mate is in a bad situation.

All of a sudden, I am into the battered woman story.

It sounds corny, I know, but these characters tend to write themselves. I didn’t mean to begin this story yet but it just seemed to connect and fall onto my pages. I intended to spotlight Kim but Maeve has stepped in.

The story-line runs through this Saturday, but will return in August.

Community Comments

#1 Rod McKie
July/17/2008
@ 8:50 am

Sandra is brilliant. She will handle the topic with sensitivity.

Her characters will lead her to new and exciting places. Between Friends is a strip that should be in everyone’s top 5. I think.

#2 Josh McDonald
July/17/2008
@ 10:10 am

So far she has really done a good job with this, keeping the issue visible without being heavy-handed with it. And somehow she is managing to keep the strip’s light, comic tone without making light of the problem itself. I’m looking forward to seeing how she does as she gets further into it.

#3 Margaret Shulock
July/17/2008
@ 12:06 pm

I agree with Rod; Sandra is a brilliant writer. For more insight on this storyline check out Sandra’s blog. It’s always a good read.

#4 D.D.Degg
July/17/2008
@ 1:01 pm

Speaking of blogs and good reads…
Your part of the the Six Chix blog is my favorite
(*ahem* at the moment), Margaret.
And I just love your identifying cartoon at that site:
http://thesixchix.com/images/skeleton/sample-margaret.jpg

I apologize to the readers for the digression.

#5 Chris Fournier
July/20/2008
@ 10:50 am

I believe Sandra is one of those rare, very-talented writers who can take such a sensitive storyline and give it the care and compassion it deserves.

She has that ability to draw people into her strip on a level that everyone relates to.

I’ve started reading this storyline over the past week or so and have wondered what direction she is going in. I’m definitely interested in following it along.

I’m sure it won’t be an easy storyline for most to read as it may open up wounds in their past relationships but in a way, if handled well as I’m sure it will be, it might bring some closure to those who have experienced abuse in their lives.

#6 Amiee Bell
July/25/2008
@ 1:18 pm

As someone who has experienced abuse (as a child and as an adult), the dialogue in this series doesn’t ring true to me. While I respect and admire Ms. Bell-Lundy for what she is trying to do, it takes more than spending time at a shelter or talking with survivors to “get it”.

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