November 21, 2010

Irene Bedard abused

Apparently Irene Bedard has been abused by her husband Deni throughout her marriage. Apparently this was an open secret among people who knew her, but it's just coming to the public's attention. Here's the story from a Word document posted by Bedard's friends and family--specifically her niece Alia Davis:

Irene Bedard's StoryI am writing to you on behalf of my aunt, Irene Bedard. Irene is an Alaskan Native actress, and is best known as the voice of Pocahontas in the Disney movie of the same name. She also had a starring role in the television miniseries “Into the West.” My aunt is very proud of her Alaskan Native heritage and used to take great joy in sharing that heritage with the world. However, my aunt’s light has been dimmed. I will explain why.

Irene moved to Alaska in an attempt to flee a horrific domestic violence situation. For 17 years, she suffered abuse, both sexually and physically, at the hands of the one person she should have been able to trust implicitly, her husband. The years of abuse left not only her body, but also her spirit and mind, battered. The abuse had been so pervasive, her health began to decline, rapidly. Her doctor began tests to detect cancer, unaware of the abuse. As heinous as the physical and mental tolls were, they were not the only price my aunt had to pay.

Her abusive husband kept her under financial control, taking her earnings, and forbidding her to work in her career field, unless he specifically approved the project. This had a detrimental effect on an otherwise promising career. As I stated earlier, my aunt starred in two important productions highlighting the plight of Native Americans. She intended to use her celebrity to bring light to the rich and beautiful heritage of all Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives, in particular. However, her husband’s control and abuse made this impossible. She could not work with bruises on her skin, and his constant presence at her work sites made not only Irene, but also others in the cast and crew uneasy. This cost my aunt jobs. No one wanted to have her husband on the set, and he would not allow her to work without him being there. While the loss of income was financially devastating for my aunt, the loss of her platform to share her heritage with the world was even more so.

As in most domestic violence cases, not only did my aunt’s husband hurt her physically, and caused her to lose her career, he aliened from her from family, friends, and fans, her support system. He had to have total control over her and their child. It was because of her son, Quinn, that she did not leave. She felt she had to endure all of the abuse for his sake. If she left her abuser, he would follow her, and, she feared, use and possibly harm their son to force her to come back to him. She felt ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, and powerless. It was only through an intervention by her family that she began to regain her spirit to defend herself, and make a better life for her son. She felt broken. But, with the love, encouragement, and support of her family, she felt there was hope for her and her son. With the help of her family, she moved to Alaska, where she could get treatment for her health, and counseling for herself and her son.

She filed for a domestic violence protective order, and for divorce.
Unfortunately, that hasn't gone well, as another posting explains:

Irene Bedard's StoryAfter 17 years of being a victim of unimaginable physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband, Native American actress Irene Bedard is now being victimized by her abuser in the courts.

When she mustered the courage to leave the abusive situation only months ago, she fled with her son Quinn to her home state of Alaska where she had family, employment and the support to heal. The failure of her Alaskan lawyer to protect her rights opened the door for her abusive husband to file 49 motions in the Greene County, Ohio courts that forced her and her son back to Ohio where she has no employment, no money or family. Her son was returned to her abusive husband. Now she is a virtual prisoner in Ohio without money, as her husband has controlled her income, her career, and her life for 17 years.

While there are many agencies that help victims of domestic violence leave the dangerous situation, the judicial system then allows the abuser to continue to batter the victim in the courts. This “assault by lawyer” must stop. It is a travesty that Ohio courts would return her son to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence.

When Irene was forced to return to Ohio she wanted to keep this matter private, just as she had hidden the bruises, scars and broken bones from friends and family for so many years. Family members, who love her dearly, went public with her story to help draw attention to her ordeal. While Irene did not initially want this information out in the public, now that it is, she realizes that she can no longer hide the secret she has kept for so long and will be speaking out publicly when she is ready. Right now, she is focused on the courts and gaining back custody of her son.
Comment:  Wow. I've heard rumors of Native actors occasionally in trouble, but nothing like this. It just goes to show you what a terrible problem violence against women is in America. If abuse can happen to a celebrity like Bedard without people knowing about it or stopping it, it can happen to anyone.

Clearly nobody told me about this or it would've been public knowledge a lot sooner. But now people know. Let's hope this posting and others like it help. Publicity is a great tool for cutting through legal red tape and achieving justice.

Here's a thought: Since Disney is so closely associated with objectifying women as princesses, it could help Irene Bedard and other victims of domestic abuse. How about it, Disney? Care to help one of your "princesses" and undo some of the damage you've done?

For more on Bedard, see Irene Bedard's Current Projects and Irene Bedard at Flint Festival.


Anonymous said...

"Here's a thought: Since Disney is so closely associated with objectifying women as princesses, it could help Irene Bedard and other victims of domestic abuse. How about it, Disney? Care to help one of your "princesses" and undo some of the damage you've done?"

and what exactly did Disney do to cause this abuse?

Chase IE said...

by objectifying women, the corporate media, including disney, has made it easier for the larger population (male and female) to view women as objects (less than human-male)which makes it easier on the conscience for males to abuse their "objects". disney probably has never considered this, nobody does, in this world we turn a profit, above all else -we need continuing consumption, and the mass of people, being ill informed, are bound to consume whatever is fed to them; informer and the informed being ill informed. take a look at history, politics, socio-econ stats, fashion, etc. and its easy to see that males physically and mentally subverted female sovereignty/self esteem. maybe that person is arguing that disney, a "complicit" corporation, should do something to raise awareness about its practices, and it may do so, if it could turn a profit as well.

Burt said...

I got to meet Irene Bedard just a year ago at a pow-wow and she is a sweet and frail woman. How in the heck does the males in her family, brothers, cousins, uncles and male friends tolerate this?

Everyone knows the laws towards domestic abuse of women and children are toothless and not enforced. This guy better watch out now that the word is out. If I come across him, I don't care about laws or jail. Men that abuse people only understand one language, and that is pain.

Physical abuse and violence in marriages gets passed on through the children. When children become adults they only know one way of solving problems under stress or pressures and that is violence.

I should know. I am a survivor of abuse myself and saw alot of violence in the home. Since my stepdad was a cop, he pulled out guns and knives and got away with it.

I hope she leaves this man and moves on with her life, and I hope someone gets a hold of this man.

The whole Disney rhetoric is baseless and unproductive. Abuse begins and should end in the home with family, friends, courts and communities that are either privy to such abuse and allow it to continue or put a stop to it before victims are maimed or dead.

Then it is too late to talk, grandstand and march for the dead!

dmarks said...

"The whole Disney rhetoric is baseless and unproductive"

True. Chase alluded to nonexistent conspiracies.

Anonymous said...

I remember that through various drug and alcohol abuse episodes, her husband was the one who stood by her. Now that there is a new man in her life, suddenly she is abused? I'm not sure I trust her. I've personally heard her blame him for not giving her messages that I know she got but didn't feel like answering. Also, she had a lot of problems before she ever met him. But it sure makes a good dramatic tale.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that "domestic and physical abuse" is a lie that is being told to slander her soon to be ex-husband. This lie is being told in order to skew public opinion in her favor in hopes of getting a better result from the fight for custody.

I am horrified this slanderous and horrible misrepresentation of the situation. In order to fleece unknowing kind hearted people of their money.

Anonymous said...

"I know for a fact that "domestic and physical abuse" is a lie that is being told to slander her soon to be ex-husband."

I have witness the abuse first hand as well as dozens of other people. Dozens of witnesses have written their testimonies. Some day, Irene's soon to be ex will have to answer to a higher power.

Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored.

Here is one such testimony. (not mine)

Rob said...

What exactly did Disney do? It promoted the idea of women as second-class citizens with half a century of popular entertainment products, that's what. For more on the subject, see "Marriage or Bust" for Disney's Women.

It's similar to what Disney did to Indians with Peter Pan, the burning log cabin, Pocahontas, The Emperor's New School, etc. And to other minorities with Fantasia, Song of the South, the jungle boat ride, Aladdin, etc. If you're going to argue that pop culture has no influence on people's beliefs and attitudes, you're going to lose. I have hundreds of postings proving you wrong.

Rob said...

I hesitated a couple of days before posting this item. But a couple of people said they'd heard about the abuse long before the story broke. With that confirmation in mind, I went with it.

The posting refers to court filings that presumably have created a paper trail of public records. Are you saying none of these court filings exist, Anonymous? Whatever your "fact" is, feel free to share it with us. Your claim that Bedard is lying isn't worth much until you prove it.

Note that I didn't post anything about Bedard's appeal for money. Regardless of her situation, I'm not sure she should be begging the public for help. I'd suggest she contact government agencies, private charities, or benefactors such as Disney first.

Rob said...

A Facebook discussion of my Disney comments:

Jennifer:  I'm not a fan of Disney, either. But the dynamics of domestic violence are more complex than what you are suggesting here and in your warrior/princess post. A "strong" woman who spends a lifetime identifying with the female "warrior" prototype that you talked about can still fall victim to domestic violence, without even seeing it coming. For many, it's a cumulative process of the tearing down and wearing down of the woman's identity--not a result of media images or stereotypes having affected them in the first place.

Renee:  Interesting suggestion, Rob, have you approached Disney with it? I do believe that all communities should help, not just major corporations.

Rob:  A "strong" woman who identifies with the female "warrior" archetype is still a member of a society that objectifies women as princesses and sex objects. Her personal choices don't necessarily affect what the people around her believe.

I agree it's more complex than the posting indicates...which is why I said one could write a book on the subject. I also agree it's a cumulative effect with multiple causes beyond what I described. But I stand by my claim that this princess objectification is part of the problem.

I thought of the idea about a minute before I posted it, Renee, so no. I know it isn't Disney's responsibility...that everyone must combat the problem. My point is that Disney could counteract its historically sexist treatment of female characters with a goodwill gesture like this. It would be a PR coup for them.

Anonymous said...

"Note that I didn't post anything about Bedard's appeal for money. Regardless of her situation, I'm not sure she should be begging the public for help. "

First, I would like to thank you for posting this on your blog.

Second, Irene is not begging the public for help. Red Crystal Gala, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating domestic violence in Native American communities, started collecting donation on her behalf with the commitment of contributing to her legal defense and/or donating the proceeds to domestic violence centers in and around Indian country in her name.

Here is another post.

They want to move the case back to Alaska where the full evidence in the case can see the light of day. Evidently, having a Alaskan court ruled Domestic Violence conviction against you, such as the case with the soon to be ex-husband, does not have legal standing in Ohio.

Despite the Domestic Violence and the fact Bedard filed for divorce in the state of Alaska first, the Ohio courts forced Bedard to leave her full time job in Alaska by ordering her to physically attend divorce proceedings in Ohio or face losing permanent custody of her child.

This order also has denied her the ability to shoot a movie on location in Alaska as well.

Anonymous said...

No doctor would miss signs of physical abuse and yet notice that something is wrong enough to order cancer screening tests. This story is a load of hooey. More than likely, this "abusive" husband was just a hard working guy who wanted to be treated like a human being when his wife up and decided to leave him... He didn't give into her demands and so she created this twisted tale of abuse.

I've seen this kind of behavior time and time again in my counseling practice. Women need to stop falsely accusing men of abuse simply because they know it will help them achieve their selfish desires.

Anonymous said...

"No doctor would miss signs of physical abuse and yet notice that something is wrong enough to order cancer screening tests."

Who said anything about cancer?

I don't see anything in the public filings about cancer.

"I've seen this kind of behavior time and time again in my counseling practice. Women need to stop falsely accusing men of abuse simply because they know it will help them achieve their selfish desires."

No trained counselor, therapist or anyone else in the medical field would divulge personal information of this type (Cancer) nor would they say such a blatantly sexist statement.

The previous poster, if they are a mental heath professional, needs to lose their license.

Burt said...

I am confused here Rob, are we talking about domestic abuse or Disney?

Unknown said...

Since Irene has gone public about her abuse, and her personal situation is worsening because the court ordered her back to Ohio, Disney could help her with the legal battles. I wouldn't say Disney is accountable for her abuse (by objectifying women as princesses), but in light of her achievement with Disney, any support they give to her would be good PR for them, and really make a difference in Irene's life.

I will pray for her, as I hope you will too. Spousal Abusers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent and made to attend victim classes for at least 1 year.

Rob said...

I spent only one brief paragraph talking about Disney, Burt. Other people have made it a subject of discussion, not me.

I linked to the Native Spirit Public Relations posting, Anonymous #5. How about if we say organizations are begging for money on Bedard's behalf and she's letting them do so? If you think that's different from Bedard herself begging for money, okay.

For more eyewitness testimony about Bedard's abuse, see Gray Wolf on Irene Bedard.

Incidentally, Gray Wolf says Anonymous #3 in this thread is none other than Deni Wilson, Bedard's allegedly abusive husband. Is that true, buddy? Why don't you identify yourself so we can determine if your claim has any credibility? Are you afraid we'll humiliate you the way you humiliated Irene?

Anonymous said...

if the husband is the anonymous....i believe it...hes totally glamorizing and putting pity on the husband..i believe that she was a victim of abuse..he can spout his nonsense all he wants.....loser....and disney should portray women in a real light..

Burt said...

It does seem rather suspicious with all the comments posted by "anonymous" using words and phrases like "I remember" and "she had alot of problems before she met him" sounds too close to the circle than just being "anonymous".

Whether its Irene Bedard or any woman, child, elderly, no one should tolerate abuse, even if its verbal, emotional and stress related.

I also agree that only victims can end abuse and many times they are do not see clearly options right in front of them.

I hope Ms Bedard survives her ordeal with less fanfare and scandal than needed and she be allowed to heal in a private and healthy environment.

As for the money issue, I see nothing wrong with HER asking for help, but I have seen and know of people that profit from someone elses' suffering, family included.

Anonymous said...

How much abuse does a woman have to put with? This anonymous guy is like a serial rapist who just wants to rape Irene of what little dignity she has left. I say, Deni, MAN UP, you coward!

Anonymous said...

How can an anonymous therapist have so much detailed information about Irene. Any professional therapist wouldn't be discussing these details. I say, Deni is PUNK!

Red Feather Life said...

I have chatted with Irene over the years at Pow Wows, last couple of years at the CSULB Pow Wow. She is a kind and gentle person, sincere in everyway. I believe her claims, and anyone who knows her would agree. She needs our prayers and support now - regardless of what side of the story you wish to believe.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that "Anonymous" is either her ex-husband or someone close to him. He is also a misogynistic troll. There is no way this creep is a mental health professional.

Unknown said...

From what I have read in the past from other comments on articles regarding irene's abuse. Deni's mother has made a lot of of the same comments that is posted on here. I believe that "anonymous" person talking trash about irene is Deni's mother, again defending her abusive piece of trash son, who she didn't raise her son to respect women. Smh.