In the movie Sleeping With the Enemy, Laura Burns, is living a life that many would describe as perfect. Laura lives in a beautiful mansion on the coast with her handsome, wealthy husband Martin. This wealth allows Laura the opportunity to stay at home rather than working outside of the home. However, behind closed doors this perfect life is very different from what the outside world sees. Laura is constantly being beaten, ridiculed, and criticized by her husband. Martin is obsessed about keeping the house in perfect order. He is easily set off by simple things such as a towel being out of line, or a can out of place in the cupboard. Upon him discovering that things are “out of order,” he resorts to severely beating Laura. The only way for Laura to escape from this torture is to stage her own death. One stormy evening Laura agrees to go out with Martin and a neighbour on his sailboat. She does this so that she can put her plan of escaping into action. Laura “falls” over board and desperately swims to shore. Meanwhile, her husband assumes that she has drowned due to the fact that she is unable to swim. However, Laura has been secretly taking swimming lessons to help her carry out her plan of staging her own death. Once ashore, Laura packs a small bag with some personal belongings and money. At this point she abandons her abusive husband, leaving her dangerous life behind. She starts a new life as Sara Winters. This new life allows Sara the opportunity to experience what it is like to live without violence, and fear. Sara gets involved with a Professor that teaches drama at a local college, despite the fact that it is very difficult for her to let her guard down after all those years of living in fear. However, with a little patience she is able to feel safe again, but just as she is able to let her guard down, Martin finds the wedding ring Laura attempted to flush down the toilet, that stormy night she fled. Angry and determined...
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Wallace, Harvey. Family Violence: Legal, Medical, and Social Perspectives, (4th Ed.), Allyn and Bacon, 2005.
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