Bara Karin Raises Awareness on Violence Against Women on ‘You Can Buy Love For Money’

Swedish artist, producer and psychologist highlights violence against women and raises awareness on the issue during the UNiTE Campaign.

Swedish artist and producer Bara Karin shares her track and thought-provoking video to raise awareness of the reality of violence against women.

Released on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the song and track coincide with the launch of the UNiTE campaign (November 25- December 10) — an initiative of 16 days of activism concluding on the day that commemorates the International Human Rights Day (December 10).

Written as a reaction to learned knowledge through her work as a psychologist at an NGO focusing on VAW (violence against women) and sexual exploitation, “You can buy love for money” is a stark reminder of a needed conversation against gender-based violence.

The piano led track opens with what can be bought for money — love, freedom, beauty — with the note that this isn’t something anyone tells you that “you can do.” Karin’s angelic notes waltz along the space-pop soundscape as an observer and comforting narrator, who at moments shouldn’t be trusted. Karin’s dual role seems to be the thoughts told as someone who is being abused and moments as the abuser. They are reassuring, they are distorted truths, and they are entangled.

“Maybe I can still attract you” lingers to an eventual fade of a distant whistle, which is a chilling ending. The open ended possibility of the track is crucial to understand that something that seems and listens so simple to others, such as leaving an abuser, is not. Victim blaming isn’t the answer; rather time should be taken to understand and amplify these voices.

The track and video does a wonderful job by presenting the complexity and mixed emotions being in an abusive relationship. The production’s slow burn is akin to holding one’s breath, anticipating the next move, quietly on high alert. By the second half of the track, the inclusion of pitched percussion is a second wind of chance and peacefully moves the track along.

The video features dancers Gustav Borehed and Anna Hallqvist in a display of embrace and tactical moves for control on the Hedefors produced visual. Borehed and Hallqvist are expressive and silently tell the story with hand placements, body position, and elevated camera angles that represent a sense of ranking and being looked down upon.

“It’s not easy to leave a violent relationship,” shares Karin. “Often times I hear things like ‘why does she stay?’, ‘she/you have such a bad taste for guys/men’ and ‘women who get into violent relationships are weak.’ But the questions we need to ask is ‘why do men expose women to violence?’ And it’s not only the physical violence of course. Usually it starts with the psychological violence, like controlling your partner’s clothes, where she goes, who she talks to. And of course, it happens in stages.

“The guy doesn’t hit on the first date, it’s building up to that moment, and since it’s building up: when the hit comes, it can be very hard to sort out all the thoughts and emotions around the relationship. Because of course, there are parts you like with your partner as well, or at least you did in the beginning. Like for example, a lot of people think it’s cute with jealousy, like ‘he tries to control you because he’s jealous and that means that he really likes you,’ but jealousy isn’t love. And also, men’s violence against women starts with boy’s violence against girls, so we need to start talking about about this with the kids and being aware that this happens in the youth’s relationships as well.”

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