The statistics on domestic violence are staggering: one in four women will experience domestic violence over a lifetime. Safiyyah A. Alexander, a social worker and victims’ advocate, wants to give hope to those trapped in the cycle of domestic violence. With a well-thought out escape plan, she says, it’s possible to get out and start over.
The author backs up her message with three short stories of fictional victims who were able to break the cycle of abuse. The first is a mother with two young children; the second is the CEO of a company; and the third is a 17-year-old high school student. In the first two cases, the women reach out to domestic violence shelters in their area for assistance; the high school student finds support from her parents and friends.
Their stories illustrate the difficulty of breaking away from a once-loving relationship. Says one victim: “I catch talk shows every once in a while when they are featuring women in abusive relationships. I am always amazed at how so many people are just like, ‘why don’t you just leave?’ I get so irritated with those people and wish I could tell them to think about leaving their home. Think about cutting their resources in half and having to start all over again from scratch with nothing but the clothes on your back…”
The book is really no more than a longish magazine article, and victims in this situation could use many more tips than those the author provides in one scant chapter. The stories are slight, though naturally compelling, and there are many editing problems throughout: tenses change from past to present and back again; words are dropped; and a key phrase is repeated in two of the stories.
Still, the book is practical instead of preachy, and it could be a very good way to approach a friend, relative or neighbor and start a dialogue with someone in trouble.
Also available as an ebook.