Steven Universe: Lapis and Abuse

*Spoilers for S1 and 2 of Steven Universe*

Steven Universe is a show filled with well written characters. One that stood out to me was Lapis and her journey of abuse and recovery.

When we first meet Lapis, Steven accidentally helps her escape from a mirror and she escapes, returning to homeworld after a series of events that involved draining the ocean. Next time she shows up she is informant and prisoner to Jasper and Peridot and one escape scene run by Steven and the Gems later Lapis turns on Jasper and fuses with her, forming Malachite and chaining them to the bottom of the sea.

As if being trapped in a mirror for five thousand years and arrested for no reason she’s aware of upon turning home weren’t bad enough, her experience fused with Jasper haunts her on some level for the rest of the episodes we have so far.

Lapis has a hard time trusting people, and this is amplified after her experiences with homeworld and being trapped as Malachite. In addition, she fears water for awhile afterward even though she loved water before and even has power over it.

There was one particularly powerful episode where Steven and Greg take Lapis on a boat to help her recovery. Despite attempts to make it fun things keep going wrong and Lapis admits that part of her wants to reform Malachite with Jasper.

A part of her wants to go back to a relationship she knows is toxic.

I’ve had my own experiences with abuse and this one hit me. An abuser can get so far into your head that a part of you is still attached to them even when you know being apart from them is better for you. There were moments after I got away from my own abuser where I was so confused part of me really wanted to go back, and that scared the crap out of me.

Lapis experiences this too, and admits it to Steven. At the end of the episode Jasper herself shows up out of nowhere. The confrontation is tense but then in a supremely powerful and empowering moment, Lapis slams Jasper under the chin with a water uppercut and in that moment, I felt like Lapis.

Like even though I booted my abuser from my life years ago, I was doing it again right there. She, like I, still struggle with the effects of our abuse, but that person no longer has control of me, like Jasper has no control over her.

Lapis represents a powerful story of abuse and recovery. And just as her story didn’t end in Season two, neither did mine. And neither does yours.

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