But her prospects skyrocketed upon being discovered by Ike Turner, when living with her mother who had abandoned the family to live in St. Louis. Ike was already established as a performer himself, as well as producer/songwriter. (Maslin, 1993) So begins a compelling biographical biopic drama about the singing duo that has touched millions of lives worldwide.
Ike appears to be the answer to Tina's prayers; an industry insider willing and able to foster her own rise to music stardom. Yet he hides (not for very long) personal demons that will drive him to heights, or depths of jealousy which will provoke in him abuses physical, emotional, and sexual.
The film, and the unflinching glare that it shines upon the threats and consequences of domestic violence highlights an unexpected truth concerning Tina's rise. Ike aided her in more ways than the obvious; Anna Mae Bullock being the right person at the right time to take advantage of the opportunity he provided; and not simply in terms of physical access to industry resources.
An analysis of the film reveals the perils and pitfalls to be overcome for those that seek to safeguard the vulnerable, (and not always women) from domestic violence. Apart from these systemic weaknesses in the law and prosecution thereof, this study shall also demonstrate that, despite the exhaustion, fear, and violence, there is a case to be made for the ways in which Tina needed Ike. Underscoring the complexities of managing the widespread threat of domestic abuse are Anna/Tina's long years of brutal, seemingly unprovoked beatings, the on-screen depictions of infidelity and various betrayals, and even a scene of apparent marital rape. Reminiscent of an indefatigable river-boat worker, (Keep on burning) the renamed Tina Turner suffers through the long slog of the showbiz hamster-wheel, driven to perform regardless of illness, bruises, or weariness. In order to escape the painful cycle, Tina could ultimately rely on no one but herself for the fortitude needed to break free. Ike's depicted abuses should certainly constitute illegal domestic violence, but many battered women are forced to rely primarily upon themselves; due to the difficulties in prosecuting such cases. In Ike's case, in time a sizeable body of evidence, and witnesses would accumulate that would easily corroborate his worst offenses; but in those heady, early years, for Tina and likely many wives; it would be easy to believe that this was a 'phase', and that he would change; that there would be no pattern of abuse to astound house-guests and scar the minds of their children. Adding to her reluctance to abandon him, loomed the specter of her own mother, who had abandoned the family when Anna Mae was young; adding a dogged determination not to duplicate that betrayal. The criminal justice system can be argued to exacerbate a disconnect between the severity of the crimes, and their response to it; largely due to difficulties of evidence, and certain beliefs held by the legal authorities. There is a tendency to 'water-down' violence based on the relationship between the parties involved. In some police districts, it was standard practice for domestic abusers to be diverted into the care of counselors, not just for the attacker himself (or rarely, herself) but counseling for victim and abuser alike. Which would hardly be the case should a woman be attacked at knifepoint by a masked stranger. (Busch, et al. 1993) Which begs the question of whether a unique set of circumstances are involved, or whether the violence is simply an unhealthy manifestation of the nuts and bolts of a volatile marriage? Many authorities assume so, and unless one was able to watch a