Author: Edited by Pam Van der Heide
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the back of the book): The authors, from all walks of life, tell about the effects of physical and emotional violence on children, on dating teens and on married women trapped by their fear and shame. The stories of healing show the way to break the intergenerational cycle of abuse by exposing the secrecy that surrounds domestic violence and promoting the understanding that leads to healing for victims and for society.
Review: This book was edited by a woman who works with the student teachers at my school and all proceeds of the book benefit Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County. When the book came out last year Pam asked if I wanted to buy a copy for our school library and I bought two. At the time I was hoping to support a colleague and an important group. I shelved the books and only this week got it back down again when I learned that the Social Justice Challenge had Domestic Violence and Child Abuse as its topic for March. And all I can say is "wow". I wish I had read this sooner!
Pam has brought together thoughtful women from throughout our county (some of whom I know, it turns out) to bring to light a very important issue for everyone, but especially women. I hope many young women at my school read this book and discover that they don't have to stay in abusive relationships.
The book is broken down into chapters with themes: before it begins (recognizing signs of aubse); when friends and family stand by (the right time to help); the power of a woman (finding your voice); etc. Each chapter begins with information, statistics, where to go for help, or how to help a friend, which is followed by mini-autobiographies and poetry. It is all so powerful, from the woman who writes to her unborn child about the abuse at the hand of her husband the night she miscarried to the woman who knew abuse was happening but couldn't get help for her friend. There are glimmers of hope: women who leave abusive relationships and children who tell, and while it would be easy to be depressed by a book like this what I took away is the power of women to stand up for each other and themselves.
This is such an important issue. And, it is important to realize that domestic violence reaches all races, religions, social classes, and ages. Please consider buying this book (link to website is above), donating to your local shelter, or volunteering. Or, help a friend that needs it!