Suzanne Vega – Luka

At the time, 1987, it seemed few cared about child abuse and neglect until Suzanne Vega had this unlikely hit (“Hit” sounds inappropriate for the topic matter, but it was #3 on Billboard). Hopefully the carefree-sounding song did not conceal the message to listeners. But in fact, that’s sort of the point:

In the public policy process, one stage is problem definition. This is when we realize there is something not right and start seeking solutions, such as through government action. Public problems may be easily identified when there are massive disasters like a Haitian earthquake or economic recession. But what about when nice children are being abused by their parents or guardians or whoever, and don’t want to talk about it?

These many years on, we can only hope that Luka is a healthy, happy adult.

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4 thoughts on “Suzanne Vega – Luka

  1. I remember when Luka first aired and all of the controversy surrounding it. Loved the song. Yesterday, while driving thru NYC, “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega came on the radio…was good to hear.

  2. I loved that song. It seemed so spot-on. The fact that it portrayed a kid just trying to get through the day, not being dramatic or screaming about victimization, but just getting through the day. It is really what it is like to grow up in that environment. You aren’t screaming and crying. You can’t do that every day. It’s exhausting. You just brush your teeth, duck when the dishes fly, and get your bag to go to school. Child abuse, in my experience, had never been portrayed that way before. It had never been portrayed with such accuracy.

  3. I always felt guilty, hoping it would come on the radio, as though it was curious of me to WANT to hear about the abused kid. And I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t rat out his folks, which of course makes sense now. But dang, how catchy.

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