A volunteer advocate for victims of domestic violence—which can affect up to 25 percent of U.S. families—describes how to safely leave an abusive relationship.
Deitz (Employed by God: Benefits Packaged with Faith, 2011) opens with several sobering statistics: In a single day in 2010, upwards of 70,000 victims nationwide reported incidents of domestic violence, and an estimated 70 percent of these involved alcohol. This guide focuses on the combination of abuse and alcoholism and is organized in three parts. “Drowning” shows how victims often lose their identity while trying to cope with their partner’s addiction. “Swimming” provides tips on how to withdraw from codependent behaviors and establish a separate identity. “Safe on Shore” advises readers how to stay strong and develop healthy relationships. Deitz uses the story of Lydia as a book-length case study: Lydia’s alcoholic husband threatened her physically, nearly killed her and emotionally abused her for 20 years before she left him. Deitz cites biblical scripture, though only sporadically: “I knew the Bible said God hates divorce. But … Scripture [also] says God despises ‘a man’s covering himself with violence.’” She provides deft analogies, as when illustrating the difficulty of leaving an abuser: Describing a car that has been violently vandalized, Deitz writes that “you certainly can’t jump in that vehicle and go. Before you can drive off, you have to make repairs. People who have suffered abuse also need time to recover and heal from shock.” Throughout, Deitz offers practical, specific guidance, such as having cash on hand as well as a list of important phone numbers and addresses. Each chapter ends with “Healing Practices” to encourage readers to apply what they’ve read to their own situations. Additional “Resources” of other helpful books and organizations, with phone numbers and web addresses, are also appended.
Practical, helpful information presented in a positive, reassuring way.