Strip Tackles Domestic Violence

Since I don’t read daily newspaper strips often, I wasn’t familiar with Between Friends, a cozy strip about adult women chatting. Then I got this press release about it:

Cartoonist Sandra Bell-Lundy is tackling the sensitive and serious topic of domestic violence in a three-month storyline that runs intermittently through November.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate to nearly 140 newspapers, Between Friends focuses on the lives of three 40-something girlfriends — Maeve, Susan, and Kim — who have known each other since high school. The current domestic violence storyline features Maeve as the catalyst for the emotional series. After a chance encounter with a former high school classmate, Tamara, who insists they meet for lunch, Maeve is convinced that she is going to berate her for breaking up her high school relationship. What Maeve doesn’t know is that after she broke off her relationship with Jake, he ended up marrying Tamara, filling her years with unhappiness and mental abuse. During their initial lunch, Maeve comforts Tamara as she breaks down.

Between Friends is primarily a humor strip, but because it is reality-based and character-driven, it opens itself to occasionally exploring serious topics. Bell-Lundy first introduced the spousal abuse story-line in July, and plans to wrap it up in November. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, so the storyline will undoubtedly have a wide-ranging appeal. … Since her own experience with domestic violence is limited, the Canadian-based cartoonist met with staff at local women’s shelters in order to gain more insight into domestic abuse.

It seems like a reasonable subject for a strip of this type, and it sounds like it’s being handled in a sensitive fashion. I’d like to check it out, but only a few strips, a couple of weeks’ worth, are available online at the Seattle Times. The relevant comics start on October 6, it seems; that’s the one I’ve shown here. Update: The archive at the Times Union goes back two weeks further.

Find out more about the author’s motivations at her blog.

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