The Too Perfect Guy
“The Perfect Guy,” starring Sanaa Latham, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut, is about domestic violence. Instead of approaching the subject of DV as something that can happen to anyone, it focuses exploring how a tough, strong, successful woman can become a victim so quickly. The woman bears all the responsibility. First, she allows the Perfect Guy into her life. Then she lets him hurt her.
This is a classic example of how society views domestic abuse: Blame the victim.
One-in-three women and one-in-seven men experience violence from intimate partners. Many abusive relationships start out as too good to be true. The National Network To End Domestic Violence’s red flags of an abusive relationship are front and center in Leah and Carter’s dangerous liaison.
Carter moves too quickly. Professes his love for Leah too early. According to NNEDV’s profile of a potential abuser, s/he flatters constantly during the early stage of a relationship, and seems “too good to be true.” Carter wins over Leah’s family and friends, and appeals to her father, for instance, with baseball tickets.
Other significant signs: Carter does not honor Leah’s boundaries. He is excessively jealous. Even though Leah does not give her contact information during their first date, for example, Carter contacts her anyway.
Once Leah thinks she has ended this toxic relationship, Carter calls and texts her relentlessly. He breaks into her house, hides surveillance equipment, hacks into her computer, steals her cat, and pushes her elderly neighbor down a flight of stairs.
The film does break stereotypes of the abuser and victim, however, by showing that a successful, handsome, thoughtful, charming, devoted, respectful, attentive man like Carter can be an abuser. And, a beautiful, intelligent, strong and successful female lobbyist like Leah can become a victim.
The film’s tragic flaw is blaming the victim.
It’s time to break such stereotypes. Join Chicago Says No More in speaking out against domestic violence by taking the Chicago Says No More pledge. Pledge to educate yourself, raise awareness and take action.