No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

An award-winning journalist's intimate investigation of the true scope of domestic violence, revealing how the roots of America's most pressing social crises are buried in abuse that happens behind closed doors. We call it domestic violence. We call it private violence. Sometimes we call it intimate terrorism. But whatever we call it, we generally do not believe it has any...

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Title:No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us
Author:Rachel Louise Snyder
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No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us Reviews

  • Mara

    Given the subject matter, clearly a lot of CWs here, particularly around violence and emotional abuse

    This is exemplary non-fiction. I'm not totally sure if this should be characterized as narrative non-fiction, because while sections of it definitely read that way, other sections are more in line with a kind of deep reportage style that is common to a lot of non-fiction on these kinds of sociological or cultural topics. Taken all together, the book that this most reminds me of is I'LL BE GONE IN

    Given the subject matter, clearly a lot of CWs here, particularly around violence and emotional abuse

    This is exemplary non-fiction. I'm not totally sure if this should be characterized as narrative non-fiction, because while sections of it definitely read that way, other sections are more in line with a kind of deep reportage style that is common to a lot of non-fiction on these kinds of sociological or cultural topics. Taken all together, the book that this most reminds me of is I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK in that it reads like a true crime hybrid, albeit that this time the hybrid is true crime + journalism, rather than true crime + memoir.

    That being said, I am absolutely gutted and in love with this book. It not only seriously interrogates the whole "why do victims stay?" aspect of intimate partner violence, it ALSO seriously interrogates how abusers become abusers and get trapped into that cycle that they use to trap their victims. With this multifaceted view, Snyder is able to explore a plethora of social issues, but particularly the subject of what we usually lump together under the label of toxic masculinity. But she is able to also explore cycles of poverty, racism, what the purpose of incarceration is, and so many other things.

    Basically, I loved this and if the content is something you can handle, recommend that everyone read. This is such an important topic and while it is a DIFFICULT thing to get through (don't even know how often I cried), I'm also so thankful for how it expanded my understanding of what domestic violence looks like and how it impacts everyone involved

  • Donna Hines

    It's a global epidemic. It affects everyone of every nationality, color, creed and socio economic status. It's intimate, personal, and it's terrorism.

    The #MeToo movement and social awareness has raised domestic violence to a higher platform but not high enough.

    We must break the glass ceiling for all involved including men, women, and children and most certainly families if we are to succeed.

    I know I'm a survivor of domestic violence by a former spouse and malignant narcissism ( personality trait

    It's a global epidemic. It affects everyone of every nationality, color, creed and socio economic status. It's intimate, personal, and it's terrorism.

    The #MeToo movement and social awareness has raised domestic violence to a higher platform but not high enough.

    We must break the glass ceiling for all involved including men, women, and children and most certainly families if we are to succeed.

    I know I'm a survivor of domestic violence by a former spouse and malignant narcissism ( personality trait disorder).

    In fact, upon reading this ebook I was taken back to PTSD, trauma, flashbacks, fight or flight, eggshells, stockholm syndrome, gaslighting, triangulation, love bombing, manipulation, intimidation, abuse of all forms (financial, sexual, psychological, verbal, emotional, religious, and yes physical).

    So many believe it's a private issue to be resolved between the parties but it's everyone's problem.

    Women cannot get proper housing with active PFA orders or constant police protection and or disturbances.

    Women cannot get aid or assistance or even shelter if they're in constant fear of threats, blackmail, pay to play schemes, and being forced into silence by the very same that's supposed to protect.

    You see I was one of those high case numbers. I was part of the systems broken legal avenues. I was viewed as just a 'stay at home mom' regardless of having higher education (MPA/CJ) than my spouse.

    I was questioned my 'high school education' level, my 'income expense statement', why I wouldn't sit next to my spouse in court. NON of which was subjected to my spouse.

    In fact my spouse failed to appear and pay and was subject to a warrant for his arrest for 15k in arrearages. He knew the judge, produced a 'Quicken Spreadsheet of expenses he paid' and I was forced to repay my abuser 21k therefore removing his arrears and making me pay my own abuser for a spreadsheet he magically produced that was created by him for him that was never offered sufficient time to evaluate for accuracy.

    Thankfully, he was subsequently arrested for violation of PFA (ICC ARREST) first time offense subject to anger management, alcohol and drug counseling, and anger management.

    I bring this all up because I was so taken back by Rachel's level of knowledge and her ideas especially those offered up by the state of Montana.

    While we have a long way to go we are moving forward and the pendulum of justice is being turned but every slowly.

    "The US spends as much 25 times more on researching cancer or heart disease as it does on violence prevention despite the enormous costs of violence to our community."

    I did my thesis on PFA orders and I interviewed local police departments.

    I can tell you from experience having multiple orders on two men that they are pieces of paper that provide a false sense of protection. They do not stop bullets, they do not protect from harms way. They will not give you a safety net or way out.

    Police I interviewed know the high case loads, they understand more training on all levels including at the courts is needed, but funded is bigger obstacle.

    They also mitigate and lessen issues especially if they know the individual who is viewed as 'model citizen' status in their community.

    Most abusers are not hidden 'monsters' they are the average every day man or woman that is hard working, respectable, community oriented person.

    The legal system and police officers do offer preferential treatment, they do lessen and minimize the abuse by noting 'just lie low' , they do label as misunderstandings or domestic disturbance rather than assault and battery which is long known to remove and eradicate responsibility upon the perpetrator.

    April 18th the state of Pennsylvania became the 2nd state to start taking into consideration the dangerousness of domestic violence abusers.

    I applaud my state for this but not for how I was mistreated and further abused by the courts.

    You see you don't ask nor should you expect to have victims sit next to their abusers. You shouldn't be subjected to education level questions if you don't intend to ask both parties.

    You shouldn't label women homemakers as just 'moms' as if somehow that MASTERS is inconsequential or the 20 yrs volunteering in POINTS OF LIGHT by the PRESIDENT OF THE USA GEORGE HERBERT W BUSH means nothing.

    See folks, the idea that justice is fair is a farce. Injustices are rampant as I now council others in this field from across 45 countries worldwide in 45 different languages on my site FB - The Lost Self Life After Narcissism.

    "But I had to stop loving myself and only love him" -- sounds familiar?! Sadly...

    However, when the author mentioned William Beadle I nearly fell down.

    Why?

    Because when I was going through the battle of my life against my narc divorce/custody/visitation he mentioned this exact example about a man who in 1782 killed his wife and 4 kids after falling bankrupt.

    He used this example in part about mental illness, gun violence, and abuse but more importantly as a sidenote in a private way to me in a public local newspaper editorial as a way to keep me silenced.

    It spoke volumes when I read what this man was capable and scared me to death ... by the way if my ex narc reads this I got that message loud and clear.

    But I refused to stay silent.

    Survivors need to tell their stories if they want change.

    While it's not easy it's a way to let others know they too are not alone.

    When the author mentioned personal stories and accounts of abuse the story involving Paul and his two girls going to live with him as teens jumped off the page at me.

    I'm going through that exact issue now with my teen girls. They are so seeking attention, love, empathy they are not getting from their dad that they hold on to crumbs and will do anything for his acknowledgement no matter how little. Yet I know if he had primary custody they'd be left alone, to watch tv, fend for selves, make crucial mistakes without guidance nor structure, and it'd be a free for all with drugs, sex, alcohol and the like and that scares the hell out of me.

    It was just a short time ago he mentioned there's more to life than books ...that scares me if you know what malignant narcs/sociopaths/psychopaths are capable of doing to their teens.

    So when the author mentioned one woman kept track of her former boyfriend using social media to keep herself safe I related as I do the same not to spy but to know if he's occupied with someone else than sadly that target is his source of supply and not me for that time being.

    He's less likely to come after us berating, chastising, condemning, hating, blaming, shaming, and the like that we receive daily 6 yrs removed from marriage.

    Remember the man in office-DT- well what the nation now experiences with the constant txts, emails, harassment of all forms, blackmail, threats, false accusations, smear campaigns, is what the norm day is like with anyone on the DSM manual.

    Trust me. It's a hell like no other hell.

    Remember anyone who comes on too quickly promising the world is most likely going to offer nothing more than empty promises and broken dreams. These individuals are incapable of offering love as they only love themselves. Everything is for personal gain and once you question motives or actions you'll be discarded.

    The trails of destruction last forever and the recovery process is long and excruciating but together we can all make a difference.

    Never give up!

    This should be required reading in every organization, nonprofit, shelter, court setting, police departments, and college/university studies in the criminal justice field.

    I've read many books on this topic and this was the most detailed, specific, honest, truthful and enlightening read I've read and that gives me and all involved hope for change.

    Thank you to the author, the publisher, Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.

  • Cara

    There are few books that manage to highlight a complex social issue, show you just how little you understand it, AND THEN provide a litany of ways we as individuals and a society can have a huge impact right now. Snyder made me understand that domestic violence impacts every life and society, and then did something that felt amazing in a world of depressing articles and troubling news reports: she demonstrated concrete ways to make change. She gave me policies to advocate for. NO VISIBLE BRUISES

    There are few books that manage to highlight a complex social issue, show you just how little you understand it, AND THEN provide a litany of ways we as individuals and a society can have a huge impact right now. Snyder made me understand that domestic violence impacts every life and society, and then did something that felt amazing in a world of depressing articles and troubling news reports: she demonstrated concrete ways to make change. She gave me policies to advocate for. NO VISIBLE BRUISES allowed me to see that domestic violence isn't just a personal problem, a sad news story or a moment for empathy with a friend; it's also an economic problem, it's a domestic terrorism problem, it's a national development problem. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and hope it is a catalyst for long overdue conversations around interpersonal violence and its lasting effects on us as individuals and as a community.

  • Hayley Stenger

    One of the best books I have read this year. Snyder does an excellent job of exploring domestic violence from several angles and then making it relevant to the national conversation. I particularly loved how Snyder brought herself into the discussion and her expertise in the area. Usually it bothers me when authors do this, but in this case it made the book feel more intimate.

  • Ang

    This book is absolutely heartbreaking, but it's also 100% necessary. It's terrifying. TERRIFYING. But it's required reading. You should read it. I'm not kidding.

    I know that I'm going to be thinking about this book for a really long time, and it has radically informed what I thought I knew about intimate partner terrorism (domestic violence).

    I'm just in awe of this book. (Also, the read-time in no way indicates how compelling the book is; I constantly wanted to be reading it, but I also needed b

    This book is absolutely heartbreaking, but it's also 100% necessary. It's terrifying. TERRIFYING. But it's required reading. You should read it. I'm not kidding.

    I know that I'm going to be thinking about this book for a really long time, and it has radically informed what I thought I knew about intimate partner terrorism (domestic violence).

    I'm just in awe of this book. (Also, the read-time in no way indicates how compelling the book is; I constantly wanted to be reading it, but I also needed breaks from it, because the subject matter is so difficult.)

  • Mehrsa

    This book is a WOW book for me. I know about domestic violence and worked briefly at a shelter when I was in college, but the book still blew me away. Snyder is the rare author that can make broader points by telling individual stories. She sneaks in facts and data and process in telling a compelling story. She also grapples with broader cultural issues and shows a lot of empathy for the perpetrators of violence. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.

  • Jane

    Not an easy read, but a compelling one. Snyder has turned out a first-rate piece of research and writing that will shock and appall you. I hope this book winds every major prize possible, and that it gets tons of attention. It has a critically important message for the entire human race: domestic violence is a form of terrorism, and we need to change attitudes and laws to address it properly.

  • Nicolaus Stengl

    According to a study, which reexamined gender differences in U.S. homicides (published in Violence and Gender, Vol. 6, No. 1), Emma E. Fridel and James Alan Fox found that homicides by intimate partners has been increasing in the last few years. As the New York Times reported, “the number of victims rose to 2,237 in 2017, a 19 percent increase from 1,875 killed in 2014…The majority of the victims in 2017 were women, a total of 1,527.” The decline in homicides by intimate partners began in late

    According to a study, which reexamined gender differences in U.S. homicides (published in Violence and Gender, Vol. 6, No. 1), Emma E. Fridel and James Alan Fox found that homicides by intimate partners has been increasing in the last few years. As the New York Times reported, “the number of victims rose to 2,237 in 2017, a 19 percent increase from 1,875 killed in 2014…The majority of the victims in 2017 were women, a total of 1,527.” The decline in homicides by intimate partners began in late in the 1970s was due a number of factors, which Rachel Louise Synder nicely lays out in her introduction: the second-wave feminism movement (not to mention the third-wave), Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), the OJ Simpson trial, etc all brought attention to domestic violence, providing means to protect help women and children against the insidious abuse that had gone on for far too long in America. Yet even with this and other reforms, today domestic violence is still overlooked, victims forgotten, and abuse is still a major crisis in American—not to mention much of the world.

    Before 2017, one could say “three women a day were killed by their partner in America,” yet now we can say that it is four women a day! Why is this the case? Well, Synder attempts to elucidate the statistic among many other things, reporting on cases that turn the number into vivid portraits of women, children, families, abusers, victims, and grappling with difficult questions on the topic of domestic violence.

    The book is broken up into three sections, each attempting to answer difficult questions such as: why do victims of domestic violence stay? Who is the abuser, and can an abuser be changed? What reforms, groups, advocacy exist and what do they do? Synder looks at these questions through cases, interviewing victims, abusers, police, reformers, and others, in order for her to provide an answer, or more often potential answers, to questions that often don’t have firm answers.

    A difficult book indeed. Tragic. depressing. Yet Synder leaves us with portraits and accounts of humans and acts that make us both angry and optimistic, that ask us to respond, to act and talk, to this widespread crises occurring all around us, to us, everyday.

  • Laura Joakimson

    Everyone who might want to save another person’s life needs to read this book.

    This is not an easy book to read. For some reason I expected more statistics or a more dry recounting of facts.

    But it’s very journalistically specific. It tells the story of a young woman who came under the complete influence of an older man. He had “coercive control” over her. She was fourteen when they met. They had two children together before she graduated from high school.

    Many of the principles for recognizing wha

    Everyone who might want to save another person’s life needs to read this book.

    This is not an easy book to read. For some reason I expected more statistics or a more dry recounting of facts.

    But it’s very journalistically specific. It tells the story of a young woman who came under the complete influence of an older man. He had “coercive control” over her. She was fourteen when they met. They had two children together before she graduated from high school.

    Many of the principles for recognizing what to look for in dangerous domestic abuse situations were missed by her family and friends since she kept so many of her experiences to herself. She told the police, in her single interaction with them, that he kept a snake that he threatened to use to kill her to make it look like an accident. She later recanted that story and told the police she had lied. Did she do that because she was stupid or because she was unstable? No, as the author made clear. Her decision to recant and to provide an official united front with him was an attempt to save her own life because she feared him more than she feared law enforcement.

    It’s hard to read this story without being impacted. That’s the purpose of reading a book like this. One of the key clues to the dangerousness of a relationship is whether or not he tries to choke her. (I’m using he/she pronouns here because that is by far the statistical norm...). Her life is in the most danger in the 24 to 48 hours after that. Yet police departments don’t often take those incidents seriously. Sometimes they downplay the physical evidence in the neck area. Victims will often lose bowel control. This is the body’s response to a mortal threat. Another dangerous sign is a man’s access to guns. In this case the husband bought a gun shortly before using it on his family. Telling the seller chillingly that it was “for his wife.”

    Not an easy book to read. But a book that could save lives. Sometimes the window is so small for someone reaching out for help. They might only speak to a few people. Maybe only one person. The more that social workers, teachers, therapists, bosses, friends, day care workers...basically the more people that know what the signs are, the more opportunities there are to save other women like this one.

    That makes it worth reading and sharing. Five stars.

    Notes from my reading:

    -His violence. He owns it with a possessive pronoun now.

    -In today’s society we don’t need violence. We need to intimate. Men are taught violence. But they are not taught intimacy.

    -We ask why didn’t she leave, not Why couldn’t he stop his violence?

    -Men learn to be men by defining themselves as superior to one another and to women. And much of the violence in our communities is due to men’s ongoing enforcement of that learned behavior in their superiority.

    -Men had learned that it was ok to use violence to enforce their social obligation to be superior.

  • Robyn

    This is such an important book, and also one of the most well-written non-fiction books that I have ever read - it is an absolute page turner. I feel that a copy of this should be sent to every law-maker in America, to help understand how to combat one of the leading causes of death for women, and to make everyone safer. Everyone should read this.

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