Tina Turner is an international superstar. The music icon’s legacy, however, is still inextricably linked to her physically and emotionally abusive relationship with former husband and music partner, Ike Turner. As famously depicted in the 1993 Academy Award-nominated biopic, What’s Love Got to Do with It, Turner suffered for years at the hands of Ike throughout their marriage and professional relationship, and she famously fled her husband in 1976 with nothing but a Mobil card and 36 cents in her pocket.
The 77-year-old recently opened up about that harrowing night during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show, which aired recently onITV, well-timed since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“I walked out without anything and had to make it on my own for my family and everyone so I just went back to work for myself,” she told the host. “It was very difficult and dangerous because Ike was a violent person and at that point he was on drugs and very insecure. I had no money. I had no place to go.”
Turner recalled how she made her escape while the pair were on tour, staying at the Statler Hilton in Dallas, Texas. “I just took a chance, I said, ‘The way out is through the door’ and while he was on one of his sleeping times, I just left the hotel, went out the kitchen way and [ran] down to the freeway.”
Despite the danger, she never looked back. “It was just time to not take any more. It was constantly abusive, other things going on, there was no control, there was no freedom…You just get fed up and you say, ‘Life is not worth living if I’m going to stay in this situation.’”
According to statistics collected by the Women of Color Network (WOCN), an estimated 29.1% of African American women are victimized by intimate partner violence in their lifetime (rape, physical assault or stalking). African American women also experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white women, and about 2.5 times the rate of women of other races. However, they are less likely than white women to use social services, battered women’s programs, or go to the hospital because of domestic violence.
The National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) reports that African American women experience higher rates of intimate partner homicide when compared to their white counterparts.
Religious convictions and a fear of shame or rejection from the church may also contribute to their remaining in an abusive relationships.
As a result of historical and present day racism, research shows that African American women may be less likely to report her abuser or seek help because of discrimination, African American men’s vulnerability to police brutality, and negative stereotyping.
These days, the “Better Be Good to Me” singer’s life is much happier and healthier and she remarried her longtime beau Erwin Bach in 2013. Of her first marriage to Ike, she told ITV she stayed out of loyalty.
“I stayed there as long as I did because I was trying to help,” Turner said in the ITV interview. “I was trying to help him from the beginning when he told me about his life and how hard it was for him to get a career going and I promised him that I would never leave him and I actually stayed because of that promise. But then it got to the point where it became really bad, really bad so it was time to go.”
For help with domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (http://www.thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-7233