Book Review: Family and Friends’ Guide to Domestic Violence 0

What You Can Do When A Loved One Is Being Abused

 Watching a friend or family member endure an abusive relationship can be a frustrating and even frightening experience. What do you say? How do you help? And what can you do when your loved one won’t admit the abuse exists?

Enter Elaine Weiss, Adjunct Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. A renowned writer, speaker and educator on domestic violence issues, Dr. Weiss specializes in teaching the public how to recognize abuse and offer support to its victims.

In her latest book, Family and Friends’ Guide to Domestic Violence: How to Listen, Talk and Take Action, Dr. Weiss takes us inside an abusive relationship, revealing how the abuser systematically cuts off outside ties and chips away at his victim’s self esteem. You’ll learn how to spot the signs of abuse – from the unexplained injuries to the more subtle signs such as low self-esteem, an inability to make decisions on her own and high levels of fear in even the most mundane of circumstances.

The book is designed to help you help the abused. You’ll discover how to recognize a potentially dangerous situation and how to help your friend or family member plan a safe escape. It teaches:

  • Why leaving is not always as easy as it sounds
  • How to really listen and understand the perspective of the abused
  • How to approach a victim of abuse
  • Why psychological abuse is just as serious as its physical counterpart
  • How to spot the different tactics an abuser uses to gain control

“You may know for certain that your family member or friend is a victim of domestic violence,” writes Dr. Weiss. “She may have told you. You may have seen it happen. [sic] Or you may be lying awake in the middle of the night, concerned that “something is not right” in the life of someone you know.”

Yet while we may be able to instantly see the big picture, Dr. Weiss reminds us that the victims often do not. “Remember that an abuser always controls and devalues his partner’s perception of reality,” she says. “And this has been going on for years.” How you handle the situation then will directly impact your loved one’s ability to leave the relationship safely and permanently.

Using this compassionate approach, Dr. Weiss teaches us how to tackle the subject of abuse for the first time. She explains the common pitfalls that many well-meaning friends fall into and shares power words that we can use to help our friend see the light.

Complete with checklists and ideas for taking action, the Family and Friends’ Guide to Domestic Violence is a must-have for anyone concerned about abuse.


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