Last month, the Needham Domestic Violence Action Committee (DVAC) hosted a town-wide book read of No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Could Kill Us at the Needham Public Library. REACH staff, Jessica Teperow, Director of Prevention Programs, and Lauren Montanaro, Community Engagement Specialist, were asked to facilitate the discussion.
No Visible Bruises was named one of the New York Time’s Top 10 Books of 2019. Journalist Rachel Louise Snyder wrote the book in three parts. The first part explores the question of why those experiencing abuse don’t “just leave,” and seeks to provide some answers of the many barriers survivors face. The second part of the book looks into Abuser Education Programs, formerly known as Batterer Intervention Programs. The book concludes with an examination of community response models available to survivors for whom shelter is not the best option.
Over 30 people attended the event. One participant described the atmosphere as one in which facilitators “created an open and safe space for a discussion that was comfortable in the uncomfortable,” creating space to understand that survivors in abusive relationships are doing the best they can given impossible circumstances. Another participant noted the gender identities of those present in the room, recognizing himself as one of two men amongst thirty women. He reflected that this disproportionate representation of gender in the room exemplified the problematic notion that ending domestic violence is a women’s issue, and pledged to continue working to engage men to become a part of ending cycles of abuse.
For those looking for more opportunities in Needham, DVAC and REACH are co-hosting a training entitled “What to Do? What to Say?” to support friends and family members of survivors. There will be two identical sessions offered; March 10 from 7:00-8:30pm and March 25 from 2:00-3:30pm. Interested individuals should email Lauren Montanaro at firstname.lastname@example.org to register. This event is free and open to all, though space is limited.