“Sygnómi” (Greek for “I’m sorry) is an interactive VR experience about the systematic domestic violence that develops during abusive relationships. Inspired by my own experience, as well as other victims I interviewed, this film aims to shed light on the unfortunate patterns that result from domestic violence, and perhaps even allow people to see how these abusive relationships can be difficult to leave.
Research has found that a lot of people still believe that domestic violence happens elsewhere. It is often believed that it only happens in families of color or lower socioeconomic status. Another common misconception is that victims that experience domestic violence won’t leave the relationship because they are fiscally dependent on their partners.
Through my project, I attempt to combat these misconceptions by creating a VR experience which tells the familiar story of a couple who used to be really in love and how it devolves the relationship into one of abuse and violence. In this experience, I choose to focus not on the event and traumatic experience of the abuse that most VR experiences have portrayed so far, but convey what domestic violence looks like from the inside in terms of cultural expectations and behavioral and gender paradigms. Through this experience I am emphasizing that a major reason that victims stay in abusive relationships is because those victims tend to create an illusion of their relationship and the perfect/fairytale moments they believe they once had out of denial with their partners instead of accepting the more painful but honest truth. A sense of entrapment arises not only from the external abuse itself but the internal struggle the victim faces. Abuse victims are looked at and judged from the outside in; “Sygnómi” offers a view from the inside out.