Breaking Away

This past month, I’ve had several wonderful opportunities to speak to book groups about Skipping Stones, and I’m amazed by the interest women my age have in domestic violence. Most of the women I’ve spoken to are what we call “women of means” – affluent, highly educated, successful in their own right. They want to know the facts, particularly what causes a man to become an abuser; why women stay; why, on average, they leave and return to the abusive relationship an average of four times.

Something interesting occurred at my most recent presentation. A participant came right out and asked her friends how many of them know women who are or have been in abusive situations. There were thirty-three women there. Out of the thirty-three, fourteen women raised their hands. The statistics are that one in every three women will, at some point in their lives, be involved in a violent relationship.

How do abused women break away? How do they break the silence? That is the central focus of the book, and one of the major points of discussion at the book clubs. For affluent women like my character, Jess, the process often begins with someone close to them really paying attention to their moods, their appearance, their overall health, and the small openings that the victims leave in conversations. In the case of Jess, it is her young nephew who became the catalyst for change – the only one in the home who had known unconditional love and open communication. Victims are hesitant to talk about how they’re living. They’re afraid; embarrassed; ashamed; lost, believing that they are somehow at fault.

Women…help other women and their innocent children. Learn about domestic violence. Listen, observe, and reach out to women you suspect are being abused. Communicate in an honest and sincere way. Break the silence. Offer help. Be a good friend, a caring mother or sister, a compassionate co-worker. You just may end up saving a life.

Let Me Hear From You

*