When Becky Lucas was growing up, she did everything with her friend Jess. They could talk about anything, they both played the flute in the school band, and they even shared a crush on the same guy at one stage. The two were inseparable – until something changed.
In late high school, Jess started a serious relationship. She slowly distanced herself from Becky, and over the next few years she became increasingly anxious, lost weight, and avoided talking about her partner.
While Becky knew Jess’s boyfriend was a “bad guy,” she had no idea he had broken her arm, would sexually abuse her, and kept her captive in an apartment when she was sick and refused to call a doctor.
It took Jess’s horrific story to open Becky’s eyes to the reality of domestic violence, and to ask the question: What can you do if your friend is being abused? Big Bad Love, a documentary in ABC’s Opening Shot series, seeks to answer this question.
While it seems strange, it was when director Briony Benjamin saw Becky Lucas perform a stand-up comedy routine about her friend Jess that the idea for Big Bad Love emerged. Briony told Fairfax, "it was a story about her and her best friend growing up –this very funny story, but at the very end of it, she spoke about how this was actually a story of regret and sadness."
"So she finished up this until-then very funny story saying, 'I just feel so bad, I feel such guilt that I did nothing'."
Briony knew Becky would be the perfect host for a documentary she was intent on making. Ever since Briony, who is one of three sisters, read the statistic that one in three women will experience physical violence in their lifetime, she knew she wanted to make a film.
"What I learnt in making the film was that we are all more powerful than we realise," she told Mamamia. "If you think someone is suffering from an abusive relationship there is always something you can do."