New Lifetime documentary investigates signs of abuse

Loved Like Crazy casts a new lens on relationships that shook South Africa, looking at the cycles of abuse, as told through the stories that made headlines.

Femicide in South Africa is five times the global average. According to police statistics, a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa. Further studies show that more than half of these are at the hands of an intimate partner.

Loved Like Crazy, a new documentary, investigates this phenomenon by casting a new lens on relationships that sent shock waves across the nation. Hosted by renowned Journalist and Author Iman Rappetti, the documentary looks at the cycles of abuse as told through the stories that made headlines.

In Loved Like Crazy, on Lifetime (131) at 21:00 on Monday, 9 December, experts focus on pathologies and patterns of violence that may help viewers understand how the cycle of violence works – what it looks and feels like, what the red flags are, and why leaving an abusive relationship is a process and not an event. It was developed from the many conversations producers had with victims and family members of domestic abuse survivors and experts.

According to creators, Nala Media, Loved Like Crazy aims to highlight the nuances, the many missteps and attacks in the pathology of violence that often gets lost under the efficient banner of a broad headline. “This is an evidence-based lethality assessment specifically designed to predict a woman’s risk of being severely abused or killed by her male intimate partner,” said Nala Media’s Penny Peppa.

Teasing out the subtleties

A woman who knows this cycle well is veteran news anchor and radio host Iman Rappetti, who experienced the co-existence of abuse with love behaviours through her parents and their relationship.

“When I was asked to host the doccie, I agreed because the many layers of domestic violence have not been adequately understood, diagnosed and treated effectively in a country like ours, where violent death often stalks victims of relationships gone wrong,” she says. In this documentary, Iman guides viewers through each stage of the cycles of abuse with empathy and insight, in an effort to help viewers see that Reeva, Karabo, Babes and Annelise could be any of us.

According to Iman, Loved Like Crazy seeks to tease out the subtleties and overt transgressions that could take the innocent from welcome mat to gravestone. “We may think or hope that what we witness in our own relationships are minor aberrations, anomalies to be shrugged or laughed off - until we see how it ultimately translated for someone else, in terrible abuse or death. It is only when we see it starkly in someone else’s relationship that we may recognise the danger in our own, and act before it’s too late.”

Beyond the headlines

For Fatime Kaba, Head of Programming and Scheduling at A + E Networks Africa, Loved Like Crazy is an opportunity for A + E Networks Africa and Nala Media to join forces to demonstrate commitment to the issue of gender-based violence. “We had already established a successful relationship, so working together to create something meaningful for 16 Days of Activism came naturally,” she says. “This project also further entrenches Lifetime as a brand that prides itself on producing content that gives a platform for women to tell their own stories.”

Each of the relationships featured illustrate characteristics of the cycle of violence that are easily recognised, says Peppa. “Many of men and women – even those in so-called normal relationships – will at some point while watching the film experience an “I’ve been there” moment. This brings awareness to the red flags in our relationships that can only make us stronger.”

Loved Like Crazy airs Monday, 9 December on Lifetime (131) at 21:00.

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