Two books for supporters of survivors
Here are two book reviews which have been kindly written for us by Emma, who is a friend and supporter of the domestic abuse survivor Kara.
Emma and Kara blog together at Moved by Faith. I appreciate their blog for the insight they give from the two perspectives of Survivor and Supporter. Their anecdotes cover the abuse while the marriage was ‘intact’ as well as the post-separation abuse and recovery that Kara is now going through.
Emma says, “I am really unable to choose one book over the other to be a favorite. I think they compliment each other and I would recommend reading them together.”
To Be An Anchor in The Storm by Susan Brewster
As a friend looking for answers, each time you pick up To Be An Anchor in The Storm, you find yourself discovering something new about yourself, your friend, and your relationship. “This book seeks to explore the relationship between a battered woman and a concerned relative or friend.” Susan Brewster does a fantastic job giving you a peek into your friend’s world and an understanding for why she is behaving the way she is. I especially found the illustration of an “anchor”, that she uses throughout the book, to be helpful. Susan Brewster explains how there are different roles you can choose when it comes to helping your friend. This book helps assess whether or not you are able to be an “anchor” and how to do so in a way that will benefit both you and your friend. In this book Susan Brewster “shows a way of being with a relative or friend that fosters understanding on your part and trust on hers”. Susan Brewster does a great job of breaking down a very complex subject and makes it eas to understand how to help your friend. Great Read.
Family and Friends’ Guide to Domestic Violence by Elaine Weiss
Family and Friends’ Guide to Domestic Violence is a book full of information to help friends and loved ones of abused women understand Domestic Violence. Elaine Weiss does an incredible job dispelling the misunderstandings of Domestic Violence and bringing awareness to women being abused. She explains how easy it is to misunderstand the abused woman’s actions and her sometimes frustrating quirks. Elaine Weiss has organized her book in a way where it is easy to flip from topic to topic and go back and reread. One of my favorite points about Family and Friends’ Guide to Domestic Violence is the great illustrations that are provided throughout the book with several checklists. Great jumping off point to learning and understanding domestic abuse.
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Also, I (Barb) found this article on the web somewhere. I’m copying it here as a ‘teaser’ for the kind of thing you might find in the above two books.
Tips for family and friends of a person who is being abused
- Don’t blame her for the abuse or ask questions like ‘what did you do for him to treat you like that?’ or ‘why do you put up with it?’, or ‘how can you still be in love with him?’ These questions suggest that it is somehow her fault.
- Don’t keep trying to work out the ‘reasons’ for the abuse. Concentrate on supporting the person who is being abused.
- Don’t be critical if she says she still loves her partner, or if she leaves but then returns to the relationship. Leaving an abusive partner takes time, and your support is really important.
- Don’t criticise her partner. Criticise the abusive behaviour and let her know that no-one has the right to abuse her (for example, say ‘your partner shouldn’t treat you like that’). Criticism of her partner is only likely to make her want to defend him or her.
- Don’t give advice, or tell her what you would do. This will only reduce her confidence to make her own decisions. Listen to her and give her information, not advice.
- Don’t pressure her to leave or try to make decisions on her behalf. Focus on listening and supporting her to make her own decisions. She knows her own situation best.
- Feeling frustrated or angry that she hasn’t left the relationship Remember that letting her know you’re frustrated or disappointed will not help her, and may only make things worse. Don’t give up on her, regardless of her decisions. Explain your fears, but let her know you will still support her. Remind yourself that your support is important, and will have a positive impact on her, even if she can’t express this now. Don’t underestimate the value of your support.