Why Would She Stay?

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“Why Do I Stay?” explores one girl’s journey to figuring out why she stays in an abusive relationship and how she is able to leave. It was recorded for Radio Rookies by a teenage girl named Loraine.

One of the most important aspects of the podcast is the tone of the piece. Loraine records the story of this part of her life for Radio Rookies, a program that’s made by teens for teens. Her tone is very informal and almost conversational, which fits with the station. She’s not a professional reporter retelling a story she looked into and researched, she’s a teenage girl learning about reporting and radio journalism, and she’s telling her own story. As a teenage girl, albeit in very different circumstances, I felt a connection to her and the way she saw the world and the way she told her story, and I was invested in hearing her story. She spoke candidly and used the informal tone to evoke an emotional response as she recounted the terrible things this man did to her.

She structured the podcast well and had a nice balance between her narration and prerecorded audio interviews and diaries. I like that she started with a recording of her meeting with her counselor and talking about graduation and then led into meeting Tony and how he threw off her life. I also like how she ended on a positive note and shared that she left him, moved out of state, and is better off now. Including the clips of her thoughts in the moment and the conversations with her family and friends made the situation seem so real because we weren’t listening to people trying to recall events and emotions, we heard them fresh. Her personal diaries were especially powerful, the ones when she’s sitting in school saying that she’s not happy, that she can’t do it anymore. The recordings were layered in nicely with her voice over explaining everything and adding in details.

The one shortcoming for me was in the establishment of a timeline. She told her story extremely well, but her relationship with Tony lasted for five years, and often I couldn’t figure out where she was in the five-year window when she was talking. The recordings of the conversations with Nicole and her mother added to the credibility and authenticity of the podcast, but in relying too much on the recorded diaries and interviews, I think she may have lost some of the narrator’s perspective that can stand apart from the story and clearly lay out a timeline and plot.

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