First and foremost, this book is for women who have experienced abuse from their male partner. Since this book was first published, we have discovered it also has a wider audience.
Professionals supporting women who have experienced abuse will find this book helpful. Reading this book will assist you to better understand the complex situation women find themselves in. We encourage doctors, lawyers, religious leaders and others to keep a copy of this book available for their own reference and to loan to those seeking advice or direction.
As well, many counselors, advocates, and shelter workers find this book a great guide for both individual and group counseling.
Similarly, friends and family will find this a helpful book. When someone we love is being hurt in a relationship, there is a natural impulse to stop the hurt as quickly as possible. Friends and family may make the mistake of oversimplifying the situation and pushing the woman to either leave the relationship or to “fix” it. Unfortunately, there is nothing simple about all the conflicting emotions and practical challenges of living with an abusive man.
What women need most are support people who appreciate how difficult their situation is and can hang in with them during the long run. This book can help you to be that kind of person.
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FROM THE EXPERIENCES OF WOMEN
We have included women’s stories throughout this book for two purposes. The first is to help women feel less alone. Many of the stories in this book will ring true for the reader. If until now, you have felt isolated in your situation, know that you’re not. You’re not alone.
The second purpose of this book, is to help women learn from the experiences of other women. We know that women learn and draw strength and insight from each other. We hope that, in hearing other women’s stories, women will begin to hear their own story more clearly.
The exercises from our counseling program are also laid out in this book, and it is designed for the reader to write in. As a reader, recording your experiences can help you to clarify your thoughts. However, if you are still living with your partner, you may be concerned that he will find this book and use it against you. If this is a concern, you may decide not to include your personal thoughts. You may even want to hide the book entirely from your partner.