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No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

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In No Visible Bruises, journalist Rachel Louise Snyder frames this urgent and immersive account of the scale of domestic violence in our country around key stories that explode the common myths-that if things were bad enough, victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that shelter is an adequate response; that violence inside the home is sepa In No Visible Bruises, journalist Rachel Louise Snyder frames this urgent and immersive account of the scale of domestic violence in our country around key stories that explode the common myths-that if things were bad enough, victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that shelter is an adequate response; that violence inside the home is separate from other forms of violence like mass shootings, gang violence, and sexual assault. Through the stories of victims, perpetrators, law enforcement, and reform movements from across the country, Snyder explores not only the dark corners of private violence, but also its far-reaching consequences for society, and what it will take to truly address it.


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In No Visible Bruises, journalist Rachel Louise Snyder frames this urgent and immersive account of the scale of domestic violence in our country around key stories that explode the common myths-that if things were bad enough, victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that shelter is an adequate response; that violence inside the home is sepa In No Visible Bruises, journalist Rachel Louise Snyder frames this urgent and immersive account of the scale of domestic violence in our country around key stories that explode the common myths-that if things were bad enough, victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that shelter is an adequate response; that violence inside the home is separate from other forms of violence like mass shootings, gang violence, and sexual assault. Through the stories of victims, perpetrators, law enforcement, and reform movements from across the country, Snyder explores not only the dark corners of private violence, but also its far-reaching consequences for society, and what it will take to truly address it.

30 review for No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    A (now former) Facebook friend posted a meme on his page a few weeks ago: a photo of an attractive young woman sighting down the barrel of a gun. The caption read "This stops rape. Not a whistle." Every fiber of my being screamed NO. Only in America would someone think to put a gun in a woman's hand and say "Save yourself." I trembled with rage, but I didn't have the arguments, the vocabulary, to understand why that photo enraged me, shook me to my core. A week later I began reading Rachel Louise A (now former) Facebook friend posted a meme on his page a few weeks ago: a photo of an attractive young woman sighting down the barrel of a gun. The caption read "This stops rape. Not a whistle." Every fiber of my being screamed NO. Only in America would someone think to put a gun in a woman's hand and say "Save yourself." I trembled with rage, but I didn't have the arguments, the vocabulary, to understand why that photo enraged me, shook me to my core. A week later I began reading Rachel Louise Snyder's extraordinary No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us. I found all the words, all the reasons, all the insights in this powerful, perspective-changing book. "Fifty women a month are shot and killed by their partners. Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness. And 80 percent of hostage situations involve an abusive partner. Nor is it only a question of physical harm: In some 20 percent of abusive relationships a perpetrator has total control of his victim’s life." From An Epidemic of Violence We Never Discuss by Alisa Roth, New York Time Book Review, June 7, 2019. If you want to understand the horrific hold violence has on this country, this book will show the links domestic violence, or the more accurately-termed "intimate partner terrorism", has to mass shootings, homelessness, substance abuse; why the #MeToo movement resonated so deeply; why it is so hard to generate commitment to laws and regulations that honor the safety of women in their own homes (yes, not all victims of domestic violence are women. Transgender and gay and lesbian partners are particularly vulnerable. Heterosexual men can certainly be terrorized by female partners in their own homes, as well. But 85 percent of intimate partner violence is perpetrated by men against women, so I, and the author, opt for the dominant model pronouns here). This book is not just for those interested in the causes of and solutions to domestic violence. It is for anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of and compassion for the most vulnerable in this culture. It is a gripping read. Snyder takes particular families, and in the best narrative non-fiction style offers up their stories in a way that you cannot put this book down. These stories show us in the most powerful, resonant ways why a woman doesn't leave an abusive relationship, and why we are asking the entirely wrong questions when we wonder what she could have done differently when things go terribly wrong. The author takes us into the courtrooms, police stations, shelters and homes before, during, and after a tragedy has occurred to reveal what is being done to address and prevent intimate partner violence. There are preventative measures, possible solutions, policies and laws enacted at the local/state level—encouraging, but slow-moving. Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark piece of legislation passed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013, expired in September 2018 and languishes in a bi-partisan deadlock on the Senate floor. Republicans once again proving they don't give a fuck about women's lives. Guess what does NOT work in preventing violence against women? Arming women. More guns = more violence. The statistics prove it over and over and over again. As one of the featured activists states, "Get rid of the fucking guns." I finally did respond to this person's Facebook post, with that awful meme, writing: Never mind that a meme like this is hopelessly, willfully ignorant of the ream of statistics that indicate violence against women, including rape, is perpetrated on them by men they know. Which requires that you use your imagination to complete this scenario. How bad must it get for a woman to turn a gun on a man she loves, whether it's her father, brother, partner, husband? That is what you are suggesting we do. Women who respond with violence have likely been the victims of ongoing violence. Is this what you want? And for woman who have been pushed that far and do pull that trigger, in how many states is prior domestic violence not admissible as a defense? Even one is one too many. The presence of guns in the home is the third greatest indicator of the probability or actuality of intimate partner violence. Those guns are used AGAINST the victim, they are NOT a source of comfort to her; they represent a constant, real threat. "The single most effective argument I know for why it doesn't make sense to arm women with guns to protect themselves against men- because arming a woman with a gun is asking her to behave like a man, to embody the somatic and psychological and cultural experience of a man while simultaneously quelling all that women have been taught. It says to women, if you want to protect yourself from violent men, you need to become violent yourself. It's not women who need to learn violence; it's men who need to learn unviolence." from NO VISIBLE BRUISES: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, by Rachel Louise Snyder. What will stop the rape of women is men ceasing to rape women. It is men holding themselves and other men accountable for their violence. This meme is more than offensive, it is an act of violence. You want to stop violence? Stop perpetrating it with messages like this. Be the fucking change, not the problem. Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. Everyone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This book is a WOW book for me. I know about domestic violence and worked briefly at a shelter when I was in college, but the book still blew me away. Snyder is the rare author that can make broader points by telling individual stories. She sneaks in facts and data and process in telling a compelling story. She also grapples with broader cultural issues and shows a lot of empathy for the perpetrators of violence. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    There are few books that manage to highlight a complex social issue, show you just how little you understand it, AND THEN provide a litany of ways we as individuals and a society can have a huge impact right now. Snyder made me understand that domestic violence impacts every life and society, and then did something that felt amazing in a world of depressing articles and troubling news reports: she demonstrated concrete ways to make change. She gave me policies to advocate for. NO VISIBLE BRUISES There are few books that manage to highlight a complex social issue, show you just how little you understand it, AND THEN provide a litany of ways we as individuals and a society can have a huge impact right now. Snyder made me understand that domestic violence impacts every life and society, and then did something that felt amazing in a world of depressing articles and troubling news reports: she demonstrated concrete ways to make change. She gave me policies to advocate for. NO VISIBLE BRUISES allowed me to see that domestic violence isn't just a personal problem, a sad news story or a moment for empathy with a friend; it's also an economic problem, it's a domestic terrorism problem, it's a national development problem. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and hope it is a catalyst for long overdue conversations around interpersonal violence and its lasting effects on us as individuals and as a community.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    It's a global epidemic. It affects everyone of every nationality, color, creed and socio economic status. It's intimate, personal, and it's terrorism. The #MeToo movement and social awareness has raised domestic violence to a higher platform but not high enough. We must break the glass ceiling for all involved including men, women, and children and most certainly families if we are to succeed. I know I'm a survivor of domestic violence by a former spouse and malignant narcissism ( personality trait It's a global epidemic. It affects everyone of every nationality, color, creed and socio economic status. It's intimate, personal, and it's terrorism. The #MeToo movement and social awareness has raised domestic violence to a higher platform but not high enough. We must break the glass ceiling for all involved including men, women, and children and most certainly families if we are to succeed. I know I'm a survivor of domestic violence by a former spouse and malignant narcissism ( personality trait disorder). In fact, upon reading this ebook I was taken back to PTSD, trauma, flashbacks, fight or flight, eggshells, stockholm syndrome, gaslighting, triangulation, love bombing, manipulation, intimidation, abuse of all forms (financial, sexual, psychological, verbal, emotional, religious, and yes physical). So many believe it's a private issue to be resolved between the parties but it's everyone's problem. Women cannot get proper housing with active PFA orders or constant police protection and or disturbances. Women cannot get aid or assistance or even shelter if they're in constant fear of threats, blackmail, pay to play schemes, and being forced into silence by the very same that's supposed to protect. You see I was one of those high case numbers. I was part of the systems broken legal avenues. I was viewed as just a 'stay at home mom' regardless of having higher education (MPA/CJ) than my spouse. I was questioned my 'high school education' level, my 'income expense statement', why I wouldn't sit next to my spouse in court. NON of which was subjected to my spouse. In fact my spouse failed to appear and pay and was subject to a warrant for his arrest for 15k in arrearages. He knew the judge, produced a 'Quicken Spreadsheet of expenses he paid' and I was forced to repay my abuser 21k therefore removing his arrears and making me pay my own abuser for a spreadsheet he magically produced that was created by him for him that was never offered sufficient time to evaluate for accuracy. Thankfully, he was subsequently arrested for violation of PFA (ICC ARREST) first time offense subject to anger management, alcohol and drug counseling, and anger management. I bring this all up because I was so taken back by Rachel's level of knowledge and her ideas especially those offered up by the state of Montana. While we have a long way to go we are moving forward and the pendulum of justice is being turned but every slowly. "The US spends as much 25 times more on researching cancer or heart disease as it does on violence prevention despite the enormous costs of violence to our community." I did my thesis on PFA orders and I interviewed local police departments. I can tell you from experience having multiple orders on two men that they are pieces of paper that provide a false sense of protection. They do not stop bullets, they do not protect from harms way. They will not give you a safety net or way out. Police I interviewed know the high case loads, they understand more training on all levels including at the courts is needed, but funded is bigger obstacle. They also mitigate and lessen issues especially if they know the individual who is viewed as 'model citizen' status in their community. Most abusers are not hidden 'monsters' they are the average every day man or woman that is hard working, respectable, community oriented person. The legal system and police officers do offer preferential treatment, they do lessen and minimize the abuse by noting 'just lie low' , they do label as misunderstandings or domestic disturbance rather than assault and battery which is long known to remove and eradicate responsibility upon the perpetrator. April 18th the state of Pennsylvania became the 2nd state to start taking into consideration the dangerousness of domestic violence abusers. I applaud my state for this but not for how I was mistreated and further abused by the courts. You see you don't ask nor should you expect to have victims sit next to their abusers. You shouldn't be subjected to education level questions if you don't intend to ask both parties. You shouldn't label women homemakers as just 'moms' as if somehow that MASTERS is inconsequential or the 20 yrs volunteering in POINTS OF LIGHT by the PRESIDENT OF THE USA GEORGE HERBERT W BUSH means nothing. See folks, the idea that justice is fair is a farce. Injustices are rampant as I now council others in this field from across 45 countries worldwide in 45 different languages on my site FB - The Lost Self Life After Narcissism. "But I had to stop loving myself and only love him" -- sounds familiar?! Sadly... However, when the author mentioned William Beadle I nearly fell down. Why? Because when I was going through the battle of my life against my narc divorce/custody/visitation he mentioned this exact example about a man who in 1782 killed his wife and 4 kids after falling bankrupt. He used this example in part about mental illness, gun violence, and abuse but more importantly as a sidenote in a private way to me in a public local newspaper editorial as a way to keep me silenced. It spoke volumes when I read what this man was capable and scared me to death ... by the way if my ex narc reads this I got that message loud and clear. But I refused to stay silent. Survivors need to tell their stories if they want change. While it's not easy it's a way to let others know they too are not alone. When the author mentioned personal stories and accounts of abuse the story involving Paul and his two girls going to live with him as teens jumped off the page at me. I'm going through that exact issue now with my teen girls. They are so seeking attention, love, empathy they are not getting from their dad that they hold on to crumbs and will do anything for his acknowledgement no matter how little. Yet I know if he had primary custody they'd be left alone, to watch tv, fend for selves, make crucial mistakes without guidance nor structure, and it'd be a free for all with drugs, sex, alcohol and the like and that scares the hell out of me. It was just a short time ago he mentioned there's more to life than books ...that scares me if you know what malignant narcs/sociopaths/psychopaths are capable of doing to their teens. So when the author mentioned one woman kept track of her former boyfriend using social media to keep herself safe I related as I do the same not to spy but to know if he's occupied with someone else than sadly that target is his source of supply and not me for that time being. He's less likely to come after us berating, chastising, condemning, hating, blaming, shaming, and the like that we receive daily 6 yrs removed from marriage. Remember the man in office-DT- well what the nation now experiences with the constant txts, emails, harassment of all forms, blackmail, threats, false accusations, smear campaigns, is what the norm day is like with anyone on the DSM manual. Trust me. It's a hell like no other hell. Remember anyone who comes on too quickly promising the world is most likely going to offer nothing more than empty promises and broken dreams. These individuals are incapable of offering love as they only love themselves. Everything is for personal gain and once you question motives or actions you'll be discarded. The trails of destruction last forever and the recovery process is long and excruciating but together we can all make a difference. Never give up! This should be required reading in every organization, nonprofit, shelter, court setting, police departments, and college/university studies in the criminal justice field. I've read many books on this topic and this was the most detailed, specific, honest, truthful and enlightening read I've read and that gives me and all involved hope for change. Thank you to the author, the publisher, Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Given the subject matter, clearly a lot of CWs here, particularly around violence and emotional abuse This is exemplary non-fiction. I'm not totally sure if this should be characterized as narrative non-fiction, because while sections of it definitely read that way, other sections are more in line with a kind of deep reportage style that is common to a lot of non-fiction on these kinds of sociological or cultural topics. Taken all together, the book that this most reminds me of is I'LL BE GONE IN Given the subject matter, clearly a lot of CWs here, particularly around violence and emotional abuse This is exemplary non-fiction. I'm not totally sure if this should be characterized as narrative non-fiction, because while sections of it definitely read that way, other sections are more in line with a kind of deep reportage style that is common to a lot of non-fiction on these kinds of sociological or cultural topics. Taken all together, the book that this most reminds me of is I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK in that it reads like a true crime hybrid, albeit that this time the hybrid is true crime + journalism, rather than true crime + memoir. That being said, I am absolutely gutted and in love with this book. It not only seriously interrogates the whole "why do victims stay?" aspect of intimate partner violence, it ALSO seriously interrogates how abusers become abusers and get trapped into that cycle that they use to trap their victims. With this multifaceted view, Snyder is able to explore a plethora of social issues, but particularly the subject of what we usually lump together under the label of toxic masculinity. But she is able to also explore cycles of poverty, racism, what the purpose of incarceration is, and so many other things. Basically, I loved this and if the content is something you can handle, recommend that everyone read. This is such an important topic and while it is a DIFFICULT thing to get through (don't even know how often I cried), I'm also so thankful for how it expanded my understanding of what domestic violence looks like and how it impacts everyone involved

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    This is such an important book, and also one of the most well-written non-fiction books that I have ever read - it is an absolute page turner. I feel that a copy of this should be sent to every law-maker in America, to help understand how to combat one of the leading causes of death for women, and to make everyone safer. Everyone should read this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    I have met both abusers and victims and had some disturbing details divulged to me, but that did not prepare me for this book. In fact, I feel badly I didn't know how gruesome that domestic violence really is. It's always kind of the thing we blame on the victim, partly out of misogyny, but I would also say we don't worry about it like, say, a mass shooting, because it's not something (we men especially) think is going to happen to us. It's something we chalk up to making poor decisions and choo I have met both abusers and victims and had some disturbing details divulged to me, but that did not prepare me for this book. In fact, I feel badly I didn't know how gruesome that domestic violence really is. It's always kind of the thing we blame on the victim, partly out of misogyny, but I would also say we don't worry about it like, say, a mass shooting, because it's not something (we men especially) think is going to happen to us. It's something we chalk up to making poor decisions and choosing bad relationships. We will even say certain women are attracted to abusers. Snyder goes on to write about how the gender expectations placed on men to not show emotion, to be tough, and the expectation to solve problems through violence creates a culture of gendered violent crime. Snyder demonstrates how many of the mass shootings begin in domestic violence and pulls apart the tendency of these gender role-indoctrinated men to claim ownership over women and dehumanize them. Tied together, it's such a refutation of the reactionary blowback to save "toxic masculinity", that it would be difficult to argue against. The meat of the book, though, is in the narrative. Snyder is at her best when she is a frontline reporter, interviewing families of victims, attending groups, and on ride-alongs. Part I of the book is a particularly harrowing case study. It is told as Snyder interviews the families of the dead involved in a gruesome triple-murder suicide, as the fathers discuss it for the first time since it happened. There are home videos as well, which we get to hear described. It paints a fascinating portrait of a family who are not alive to tell their own story. Part I familiarizes the reader with the reality of domestic abuse. The physical violence might pale in comparison to the psychological. The abuser creates situations in which there is no escape. The victim has no choice but to either convince themselves it is actually bearable or to figure a way out, which can possibly be deadly. They can't simply leave when they have kids. They leave their kids with him and they will be in the hands of an abuser. Plus, what mother would willingly leave their children? But, if she takes the children, she is a kidnapper. Calling the police would likely mean he would get out of jail quickly and be even more enraged. It's an unwinnable situation. Snyder challenges us to ask why we collectively ask: "Why do they stay?" when the more relevant question is, "Why were they violent?" Part II explores abuser rehabilitation. This is a tough transition, but it's a necessary one. It's tough because of the brutalizing nature of the first part. I imagine many by this point are ready to lock men up and throw away the key, and it's hard to blame them. I actually found a couple of the stories quite redemptive, and thought the author's conclusion was quite odd. That said, I'm glad she told the story. Part III deals primarily with the victim-facing solutions. The big takeaway is that there are primarily two: shelters and police. Shelters are often not great solutions because women are forced to go to the first one in the state with an open spot, and even leave their job if it's out of range. From her perspective, police are often issues because they do not take detailed reports, don't take domestic violence seriously (nor do courts, she adds), often they are abusers themselves (2-4x as likely to be abusers as the general population). She does highlight a cop from Cleveland who works with victims of domestic abuse who seems to function somewhere between a social worker and a cop. As jaded as I am about the justice system, she was a good officer. Throughout, she continues with crushing stories of abuse. A noticeable thing is that so many of the people who get involved with the work were in some way afflicted by abuse. Just as many of the abusers were abused. In the last chapter, Snyder brings up an 14% increase in domestic abuse over the last 5 or so years. Though this could be arbitrary data fluctuation, but with misogyny being part of the culture war, it seems as if this ripple effect could make it epidemic. Now for some nitpicks: since domestic abuse does seem to be a function of culture, I would also like to have seen data comparing the US to other countries. How can we change the culture to pre-empt the violence to where more of it doesn't happen? The author seems to conclude that the most effective prevention would be early, at the misdemeanor level. More effectively assessing threats and removing bail... More incarceration? We are so greatly incarcerated a country already, I'm hesitant to hope for this, yet this is also a hideous crime that puts the family in such harm; therefore, it is difficult to fault anyone for wanting these people sequestered. Again, I felt the ending of Part II was a disappointment. Her assessment of Jimmy was far too harsh. From the point of view of the reader, he might be flawed still, but there is no reason to believe he is not a success story (he was getting off drugs too!). The dark take she brings to it is cynical and really undermines the idea of rehabilitation, which while I imagine it's theoretically possible someone who is abusive cannot be rehabilitated, I imagine it's far more likely that many can. The only empirical evidence I recall her providing actually is strongly in favor of the rehabilitation groups. There might not be enough data out there at all to get a proper sample, given how much our justice system is focused on purely punitive measures. "Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism" by Kristen Ghodsee explains why, in socialist countries, women have historically been able to easier get out of and avoid altogether abusive relationships (it has to do with having more economic stability). In a similar vein, it seems that greater parity in wealth and income (both among the sexes and among people in general) would do a little to remedy this problem. Overall, excellent book. Gripping narrative and information that you owe it to the vulnerable around you to know.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kazen

    edit: upping this to five stars. It's only grown in my mind since I finished. My favorite read of the Booktube Prize opening round. To see why check out the detailed review in my Octofinal vlog: https://youtu.be/V1lhhdY5_VY edit: upping this to five stars. It's only grown in my mind since I finished. My favorite read of the Booktube Prize opening round. To see why check out the detailed review in my Octofinal vlog: https://youtu.be/V1lhhdY5_VY

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura Joakimson

    Everyone who might want to save another person’s life needs to read this book. This is not an easy book to read. For some reason I expected more statistics or a more dry recounting of facts. But it’s very journalistically specific. It tells the story of a young woman who came under the complete influence of an older man. He had “coercive control” over her. She was fourteen when they met. They had two children together before she graduated from high school. Many of the principles for recognizing wha Everyone who might want to save another person’s life needs to read this book. This is not an easy book to read. For some reason I expected more statistics or a more dry recounting of facts. But it’s very journalistically specific. It tells the story of a young woman who came under the complete influence of an older man. He had “coercive control” over her. She was fourteen when they met. They had two children together before she graduated from high school. Many of the principles for recognizing what to look for in dangerous domestic abuse situations were missed by her family and friends since she kept so many of her experiences to herself. She told the police, in her single interaction with them, that he kept a snake that he threatened to use to kill her to make it look like an accident. She later recanted that story and told the police she had lied. Did she do that because she was stupid or because she was unstable? No, as the author made clear. Her decision to recant and to provide an official united front with him was an attempt to save her own life because she feared him more than she feared or trusted law enforcement. It’s hard to read this story without being impacted. That’s the purpose of reading a book like this. One of the key clues to the dangerousness of a relationship is whether or not he tries to choke her. (I’m using he/she pronouns here because that is by far the statistical norm...). Her life is in the most danger in the 24 to 48 hours after that. Yet police departments don’t often take those incidents seriously. Sometimes they downplay the physical evidence in the neck area. Victims will often lose bowel control. This is the body’s response to a mortal threat. Another dangerous sign is a man’s access to guns. In this case the husband bought a gun shortly before using it on his family. Telling the seller chillingly that it was “for his wife.” Not an easy book to read. But a book that could save lives. Sometimes the window is so small for someone reaching out for help. They might only speak to a few people. Maybe only one person. The more that social workers, teachers, therapists, bosses, friends, day care workers...basically the more people that know what the signs are, the more opportunities there are to save other women like this one. That makes it worth reading and sharing. Five stars. Notes from my reading: -His violence. He owns it with a possessive pronoun now. -In today’s society we don’t need violence. We need to intimate. Men are taught violence. But they are not taught intimacy. -We ask why didn’t she leave, not Why couldn’t he stop his violence? -Men learn to be men by defining themselves as superior to one another and to women. And much of the violence in our communities is due to men’s ongoing enforcement of that learned behavior in their superiority. -Men had learned that it was ok to use violence to enforce their social obligation to be superior.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Not an easy read, but a compelling one. Snyder has turned out a first-rate piece of research and writing that will shock and appall you. I hope this book winds every major prize possible, and that it gets tons of attention. It has a critically important message for the entire human race: domestic violence is a form of terrorism, and we need to change attitudes and laws to address it properly.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steve Ellerhoff

    Every one of us needs to read this book. If you have not been hurt by intimate partner terrorism yourself, please make time for this book. For those of us who have, it is hard to read—but in the way that needed medicine can taste terrible. This book is one of those books that stands in a unique position to raise our consciousness for the better. In this case, it stands to normalize advocacy and protection for abused women and their children, who are murdered in numbers that dwarf our country’s s Every one of us needs to read this book. If you have not been hurt by intimate partner terrorism yourself, please make time for this book. For those of us who have, it is hard to read—but in the way that needed medicine can taste terrible. This book is one of those books that stands in a unique position to raise our consciousness for the better. In this case, it stands to normalize advocacy and protection for abused women and their children, who are murdered in numbers that dwarf our country’s soldier losses in war: “Fifty American women are shot and killed every month by intimate partners” (p.272). Rachel Louise Snyder has done profound work here, catching us up to date on how the abuse of women in their relationships is not a private issue at all—it’s a crime, corroding our communities. This makes it all of our business. She re-frames the outworn attitudes so often projected onto women in dire situations, making the case for us to stop asking why a woman stays with a man who has terrorized her. Snyder and allies would rather we ask what we can do to protect a woman and her children. As far as that goes, hopeful and promising projects to do just that are explored in this book—especially the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center in Massachusetts, the Homicide Reduction Unit task force in Cleveland, and DASH, Cornerstone, and DC Safe in Washington, D.C. Snyder also addresses anticipated questions. Why, for instance, will a woman often side (or appear to side) with the man terrorizing her? Why will she accept him isolating her from her family and loved ones, or deleting all of her social media accounts? Typically it’s because he has given her every reason to fear him—and she knows he could very well murder her. He has made himself appear more powerful to her than advocacy and legal systems. Important work by Jacquelyn Campbell and Ellen Pence is also covered. We learn the most dangerous time for a woman and her children is when she leaves or attempts to leave him. The first three months are exceedingly dangerous. The next nine months are a fraction less dangerous. Then after a year, the danger drops by a lot. However, this cycle of spiking danger and gradual de-escalation can be re-triggered by events like a graduation, a new job, a move, a pregnancy—big life events. Snyder lays out how experts have found that making a timeline of events in an abusive relationship is integral to breaking free—and the thing often overlooked is escalation along that timeline. The book explores many situations where women and their children were murdered by an intimate partner. Of course, countless women are terrorized without being murdered. One takeaway is that no person should be made to fear her husband or boyfriend or partner. That goes for her children, too. And until we accept this morally, as a culture, by normalizing its criminality, we are all failing. We have a duty to look out for each other. Snyder tells us the most promising efforts are happening in cities where advocates and police and medical professionals and social workers and clergy are openly meeting with each other and talking about specific people they stand to help. The responsibility extends, of course, to each of us contributing to a just and humane society. We can also, of course, work on listening—to experts and people who have been hurt by intimate partner terrorism (sometimes they are one and the same…), and even the men who terrorize. One woman, named Victoria in the book, says, “You’ve heard the saying ‘hurt people hurt people’… Well, I also think healed people heal people” (p.119). This book can help a lot of us as we heal—and lead to greater societal efforts to help others heal, too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    This is an important topic but its treatment here disappointed me. What the author calls "literary journalism" involves putting thoughts into dead people's heads, injecting a lot of personal opinions and irrelevant details while mixing up timelines and case studies. More importantly, I felt the focus was very far downstream. To the extent that people in the book talk about prevention, what they mean is prevention of homicide as opposed to prevention of domestic violence. Stopping murder is obvio This is an important topic but its treatment here disappointed me. What the author calls "literary journalism" involves putting thoughts into dead people's heads, injecting a lot of personal opinions and irrelevant details while mixing up timelines and case studies. More importantly, I felt the focus was very far downstream. To the extent that people in the book talk about prevention, what they mean is prevention of homicide as opposed to prevention of domestic violence. Stopping murder is obviously good to do, but it's sad not to pull back for a broader perspective and go upstream. The closest the book gets is an aside on page 134: "Another [wall] bears a poster: How do you stop a thirty-year-old from beating his wife? Talk to him when he's twelve." I would have said eight. In any case, that poster's presence in a place for reforming abusers (!) surely demands some discussion in a whole book about DV that is supposed to cover how to address DV.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ang

    This book is absolutely heartbreaking, but it's also 100% necessary. It's terrifying. TERRIFYING. But it's required reading. You should read it. I'm not kidding. I know that I'm going to be thinking about this book for a really long time, and it has radically informed what I thought I knew about intimate partner terrorism (domestic violence). I'm just in awe of this book. (Also, the read-time in no way indicates how compelling the book is; I constantly wanted to be reading it, but I also needed b This book is absolutely heartbreaking, but it's also 100% necessary. It's terrifying. TERRIFYING. But it's required reading. You should read it. I'm not kidding. I know that I'm going to be thinking about this book for a really long time, and it has radically informed what I thought I knew about intimate partner terrorism (domestic violence). I'm just in awe of this book. (Also, the read-time in no way indicates how compelling the book is; I constantly wanted to be reading it, but I also needed breaks from it, because the subject matter is so difficult.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily Nostro

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book would have gotten 5 stars if the editor cut out the author’s self indulgent asides and made her write about DV in the LGBTQ community. Her refusal to write about this aspect of domestic violence reinforces her own subtitle.

  15. 5 out of 5

    julia ☆ [owls reads]

    This is probably the most important book I'll ever read in my life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sheard

    This is such an important book, especially in light of how little progress has been made on curbing domestic violence, despite some major attempts to institute procedures and safeguards to protect women before the cycle of violence ends up in their murder. But I admit it was a very slow read for me. It's very well written, but I have read too many social justice books in a short period of time and I think I'm overloaded for now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Not a very cheery subject but a very affecting book that gives you an inside understanding of domestic abuse. I am wiser for having read it because I apparently didn't understand the many nuances to abusive behaviour . Things I hadn't ever considered. I now understand why the abused person doesn't just leave. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in social issues.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Beth Robinson-Kinney

    This was well-researched, but honestly, I did not see a lot of new insight on IPV here. I may be biased and/or not the target audience for this book, since I work in the field, but overall, I was hoping for a bit more.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anita Cassidy

    Felt so uneasy reading this and then I realised why: the author is so classist and does not evaluate or critique her own viewpoint at all. She seems more interested in telling stories than really interrogating the issues at play with IPV. Really disappointing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Meg Clayton

    Rachel Louise Snyder tells specific stories which, taken together and mixed with a good bit of journalist fact, will turn your idea of what domestic violence is -- something that happens to others, remote from us -- into what it is, a problem of serious consequence not just to the individuals involved, but to the fabric of our society. This compelling volume ought to be on everyone's reading list.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    A must-read for literally every human.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Neville Longbottom

    This is a stellar work of non-fiction. Being that it’s about domestic violence, it can be really difficult to read at times. It addresses so many different aspects of these crimes, such as why it’s so difficult for many victims to leave, why shelter isn’t always the best option, and the failings of bureaucracy and different law enforcement agencies. It also delves into the violent offenders, how society has influenced them, and the steps that are taken to try and rehabilitate them within prison This is a stellar work of non-fiction. Being that it’s about domestic violence, it can be really difficult to read at times. It addresses so many different aspects of these crimes, such as why it’s so difficult for many victims to leave, why shelter isn’t always the best option, and the failings of bureaucracy and different law enforcement agencies. It also delves into the violent offenders, how society has influenced them, and the steps that are taken to try and rehabilitate them within prison and also once they’re released. Rachel Louise Snyder, as the author, is present within the narrative of the story. Parts of the book are examining her own preconceived notions about domestic violence and her process of learning about the victims, the abusers, and the advocates and officers who are working tirelessly to try and protect people. I thought the style of the book worked really well. It’s not completely first person memoir but it also isn’t completely just a sociological text reporting on the stories of others. I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels up to reading about this subject matter.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kolumbina

    Found an excellent review on this book in one of the more recent editions of The Weekend Australian. And it is definitely a good book, a painfully good and shocking book about domestic violence written by Rachel Louise Snyder, academic at one of the American Universities. "No Visisible Bruises" is a big book, a hard work, a lot of research, interviews by Snyder and many valuable conclusions applicable not only for Americans but also for all the people in abusive relationships. I found this book v Found an excellent review on this book in one of the more recent editions of The Weekend Australian. And it is definitely a good book, a painfully good and shocking book about domestic violence written by Rachel Louise Snyder, academic at one of the American Universities. "No Visisible Bruises" is a big book, a hard work, a lot of research, interviews by Snyder and many valuable conclusions applicable not only for Americans but also for all the people in abusive relationships. I found this book very hard to read, wish I missed that Saturday paper. Still, I recommend this book to all the readers, especially the people with children.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Stenger

    One of the best books I have read this year. Snyder does an excellent job of exploring domestic violence from several angles and then making it relevant to the national conversation. I particularly loved how Snyder brought herself into the discussion and her expertise in the area. Usually it bothers me when authors do this, but in this case it made the book feel more intimate.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Grigsby

    An outstanding assessment of the current state of handling of domestic terrorism cases by police, social agencies, victims, and perpetrators. Very good and very scary.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is a fantastic piece of nonfiction. Well researched and compellingly readable. It’s definitely not an easy read but everyone should read this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Sooo good, but such a heavy and emotionally-exhausting book. I need to read something light and fluffy after this. Also, it kinda made me hate men just a little bit more.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Everyone should read this book. You might think that the subject matter would make it too harrowing, but somehow Snyder manages to lead you through it and to leave you somewhat hopeful that things will change. I really cannot recommend it enough.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adriannne Beer

    I found the book pretty unorganized

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicolaus Stengl

    According to a study, which reexamined gender differences in U.S. homicides (published in Violence and Gender, Vol. 6, No. 1), Emma E. Fridel and James Alan Fox found that homicides by intimate partners has been increasing in the last few years. As the New York Times reported, “the number of victims rose to 2,237 in 2017, a 19 percent increase from 1,875 killed in 2014…The majority of the victims in 2017 were women, a total of 1,527.” The decline in homicides by intimate partners began in late According to a study, which reexamined gender differences in U.S. homicides (published in Violence and Gender, Vol. 6, No. 1), Emma E. Fridel and James Alan Fox found that homicides by intimate partners has been increasing in the last few years. As the New York Times reported, “the number of victims rose to 2,237 in 2017, a 19 percent increase from 1,875 killed in 2014…The majority of the victims in 2017 were women, a total of 1,527.” The decline in homicides by intimate partners began in late in the 1970s was due a number of factors, which Rachel Louise Synder nicely lays out in her introduction: the second-wave feminism movement (not to mention the third-wave), Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), the OJ Simpson trial, etc all brought attention to domestic violence, providing means to protect help women and children against the insidious abuse that had gone on for far too long in America. Yet even with this and other reforms, today domestic violence is still overlooked, victims forgotten, and abuse is still a major crisis in American—not to mention much of the world. Before 2017, one could say “three women a day were killed by their partner in America,” yet now we can say that it is four women a day! Why is this the case? Well, Synder attempts to elucidate the statistic among many other things, reporting on cases that turn the number into vivid portraits of women, children, families, abusers, victims, and grappling with difficult questions on the topic of domestic violence. The book is broken up into three sections, each attempting to answer difficult questions such as: why do victims of domestic violence stay? Who is the abuser, and can an abuser be changed? What reforms, groups, advocacy exist and what do they do? Synder looks at these questions through cases, interviewing victims, abusers, police, reformers, and others, in order for her to provide an answer, or more often potential answers, to questions that often don’t have firm answers. A difficult book indeed. Tragic. depressing. Yet Synder leaves us with portraits and accounts of humans and acts that make us both angry and optimistic, that ask us to respond, to act and talk, to this widespread crises occurring all around us, to us, everyday.

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