cover image 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

Rachel Louise Snyder. Bloomsbury, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63557-097-7

In this powerful investigation into intimate partner abuse, journalist and professor Snyder (Fugitive Denim) makes the case that “domestic violence, rather than being a private problem, is a most urgent matter of public health.” She humanizes the price tag—victims in the U.S. collectively miss more than eight million days of work per year, and health-care costs borne by taxpayers exceed $8 billion annually—with closely observed, compassionate portraits of victims, advocates, abusers, and police. She also examines the interplay of culture, circumstance, and shame that keeps women with abusive partners, displaying a thorough understanding of systemic problems, including the lethal combination of common contributing factors, among them poverty, addiction, narcissism, and easy access to guns (in the U.S., 50 women a month are shot and killed by their partners). Balancing the gut-wrenching stories are hopeful explorations of resources that could prevent domestic homicides, including the Danger Assessment instrument used by medical professionals to assess an abuse partner’s risk; programs that try to rehabilitate offenders; and comprehensive approaches to victim protection, such as that of DASH in Washington, D.C., which offers shelter to victims without disrupting their access to their homes, jobs, or communities. Penetrating and wise, and written in sometimes novelistic prose, Synder’s sobering analysis will reward readers’ attention. Agent: Susan Ramer, Don Congdon and Associates. (May)