Yet, despite such strong pro-feminist messages, we're also faced with several scenes involving the emotional and physical abuse of Harley Quinn, who demonstrates a dependency on her aggressor, The Joker. We didn't have to do an "analysis" in regards to her treatment -- it is inexcusable intimate partner violence and The Joker is a clear perpetrator. The narrative -- brilliantly written, we believe-- allows us a platform to discuss the Cycle of Domestic Violence and the realities, myths, and complexities of abusive relationships. We discuss The Joker's authentic feelings for Harley, asking ourselves if he actually cares for her. We then ask ourselves about our own love affair with The Joker. Can we separate our adoration of him and his volatile behavior? Can we understand Harley's loyalty to him, without blaming her for the cyclical nature of her victimization? We admit that there aren't easy answers to these questions, but we believe it's worth trying to understand these mixed feelings of love, hatred, loyalty and fear.
If you or someone you know needs help related to intimate partner violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or visit the website, thehotline.org. Support, resources, and advice about keeping yourself safe are available 24/7, every day of the year.
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