Domestic Violence: Fiction and Nonfiction

Susan R. Sloan

When Valerie O’Connor first meets Jack Marsh, she is immediately swept off her feet. She wants to have the perfect marriage. She never expected Jack to turn violent.

Anna Quindlen

"Fran Benedetto tells a spellbinding story: how at nineteen she fell in love with Bobby Benedetto, how their passionate marriage became a nightmare, why she stayed, and what happened on the night she finally decided to run away with her ten-year-old son and start a new life under a new name. Living in fear in Florida--yet with increasing confidence, freedom, and hope--Fran unravels the complex threads of family, identity, and desire that shape a woman's life, even as she begins to create a new one. As Fran starts to heal from the pain of the past, she almost believes she has escaped it--that Bobby Benedetto will not find her and again provoke the complex combustion between them of attraction and destruction, lust and love."

M. Webb
"There is a misconception in our society about abuse. My intent with this book is to select some accounts of abuse to show that these things can and do happen in a lot of families, not just to the poor and uneducated. We get to enter these households and see that these women don't instigate these attacks, nor do they enjoy them. These women deserve to be heard and we need to listen. Domestic abuse is in the papers every day. Maybe this book will give women the courage to leave their abusers and help us to better understand this growing problem. My hope is that these stories stay with my readers long after they put the book down."
Sarah Dessen
After her older sister runs away, 16-year-old Caitlin decides she needs to make a major change in her own life and begins an abusive relationship with a boy who is mysterious, brilliant and dangerous.
Elaine Weiss

Weiss’s book is a comprehensive look at violent relationships and explores how friends and family can help their loved ones who are involved in one:

1. Getting involved -- 2. Understanding domestic abuse -- 3. Understanding psychological abuse -- 4. Understanding abusers -- 5. Talking and listening -- 6. Taking action -- 7. Special circumstances : pregnancy, disability, teen dating -- 8. Remaining involved --  Checklist 1. Warning signs of domestic abuse -- Checklist 2. Abusers use a wide range of tactics to achieve control -- Checklist 3. What would it take for an abuser to change? -- Checklist 4. How dangerous is this abuser? -- Checklist 5. Planning for safety if she stays with her abuser -- Checklist 6. Planning for safety if he is removed from the home or she has left -- Checklist 7. Planning for safety during a violent incident -- Checklist 8. Health and unhealthy relationships -- Checklist 9. How teens can help their peers -- Checklist 10. An abuser uses a variety of tactics to regain control if his victim leaves.

Victor Montgomery

"There are 24.5 million military veterans in the United States; Seventeen of them each day will take their own lives. Homelessness. Alcohol and drug abuse. Unemployment. Domestic violence. Minds plagued by war scenes. The numbers are staggering and growing daily...Respected crisis intervention therapist and Vietnam veteran Victor Montgomery, III, has worked with thousands of veterans contemplating suicide. His unique, positive method: Explores the psychological wounds of war, significantly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI); Outlines warning signs of a veteran in distress; Examines the distinct issues facing women in the military; Provides an in-depth guide to veteran-related networks, organizations, and programs; Offers uplifting, inspirational stories of rescue and redemption..."

Danielle Steel

Maddy Hunter seems to have it all. She’s a popular TV news anchor and married to the wealthy, handsome owner of the station, Jack Hunter, who saved her from an abusive first husband. What people don’t see is that Jack is a controlling man who constantly belittles and insults Maddy.

Jodi Picoult

Anthropologist Cassie Barrett is swept off her feet by actor Alex Rivers when she serves as an advisor on his latest film. However, the picture-perfect Hollywood marriage is not as perfect as it seems. Alex has had a troubled life, and Cassie becomes the victim of his abuse.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

"In the city of Enugu, Nigeria, fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother, Jaja, lead a privileged life. Their Papa is a wealthy and respected businessman; they live in a beautiful house; and they attend an exclusive missionary school. But, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, their home life is anything but harmonious. Her father, a fanatically religious man, has impossible expectations of his children and wife, and severely punishes them if they're less than perfect. Home is silent and suffocating. When Kambili's loving and outspoken Aunty Ifeoma persuades her brother that the children should visit her in Nsukka, Kambili and Jaja take their first trip away from home.

"Once inside their Aunty Ifeoma's flat, they discover a whole new world. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins' laughter rings throughout the house. Jaja learns to garden and work with his hands, and Kambili secretly falls in love with a young charismatic priest. When a military coup threatens to destroy the country and Kambili and Jaja return home changed by their newfound freedom, tension within the family escalates."

Stephen King
Rosie Daniels flees her nightmare marriage to find refuge in a strange city, far from her brutal husband, Norman, whose relentless savagery and mad obsessions follow her to her sanctuary and drive her to transform herself to survive.
Vicki Crompton and Ellen Zelda Kessner
"For parents who are concerned that their daughter is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, here at last is a book based on personal experience and authoritative research that provides answers. Dating violence affects a huge number of teenage girls -- one in three girls between the ages of ten and eighteen reports having been assaulted by a boyfriend -- and can run the gamut from possessiveness to stalking to outright physical abuse. Often it is the girls with the highest self-esteem, those who believe they are in control of their lives and can bring out the best in their boyfriends, who find themselves in the grip of a relationship in which the tables have been turned."
Mildred Muhammad

"Mildred Muhammad, the former wife of convicted 'D.C. sniper' John Muhammad, breaks her silence about the domestic violence she suffered during their marriage and the tragic events that occurred after their divorce, which led up to the October 2002 sniper killings in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area."

Includes discussion guide, listing of state coalitions against domestic violence, and a safety plan for victims in a domestic violence situation.

Anita Shreve
Although journalists Harold and Maureen English seem the have the perfect marriage, things are very different behind closed doors. When Maureen is severely beaten, she escapes to Maine with her infant daughter. But Harold follows right behind her.
Donald G. Dutton

"Are we missing the point in the treatment people who abuse others? According to Dutton (psychology, U. of British Columbia) abusers are not just acting out of emotions that lead to assuming inappropriate control. He has found in his research and practice that many have borderline personality characteristics and trauma symptoms requiring different approaches than many therapists currently follow.

"In this new edition, updated to reflect the latest theory and findings, Dutton takes into account earlier approaches to the treatment of abusers and the reasons why such approaches may or may not have been effective. He goes deeply into the data, describing what it says about rage, attachment, the cycle of violence. Longitudinal development and borderline disorders, and also examines female abusive personalities. He concludes by describing practical, cognitive-behavioral approaches in the treatment of those who assault.'

Alice Walker

Winner of the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, this unforgettable portrait of a young black girl, her friends, family, and lovers is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.

On Film:
Be sure to check out the powerful 1985 movie version, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, and Whoopie Goldberg.

Dawn Bradley Berry

"A comprehensive, compassionate look at domestic violence--including historical, psychological, social, familial, and legal issues--this well-organized, accessible book offers the most current information available on prevention and recovery, along with practical steps for escaping a violent domestic situation."

Patricia M. Evans

Verbal abuse doesn't leave the same physical evidence as battery, but it can be just as painful, and can actually take longer to recover from. The new edition of this important reference covers the most recent developments in dealing with verbal abuse and answers the questions readers ask most on the subject.

Roddy Doyle

The author of The Commitments and Paddy Clarke Ha-Ha-Ha, winner of the 1993 Booker Prize, tells the story of Paula Spencer, a woman approaching forty and struggling with alcoholism and a violent marriage. Paula Spencer is the sequel.

Susan Brewster

"A comprehensive education on domestic violence--and the tools to intervene in a way that helps, not hurts. To Be an Anchor in the Storm is the first hands-on guide for people who want to assist a friend or loved one in her struggle to escape domestic violence. The survivor of a batterer herself, Susan Brewster has counseled abused women for more than a decade. Now she weaves together lessons from her own life and many case histories, including the complete story of a woman called Jackie, as she supports her sister's attempts to leave an abusive husband.

"Brewster will teach you how to recognize the signs of abuse, handle your own negative feelings, become an effective advocate, deal with the batterer, and more. Her compassionate book will give you the understanding you need to give strength to women who are trying to break free."

Lundy Bancroft
"...offers comfort, understanding, and a concrete plan of action to any woman concerned about the distress being caused to her children by her angry, controlling, or abusive partner. Written for mothers, this book aims to enlighten women about the effects of abuse on children, how an abusive partner distorts familial relationships, and what can be done about it."
Connie May Fowler
"In this piercing memoir, Fowler chronicles the emotional battery and physical abuse that marked her own passage to adulthood. She draws a searing portrait of growing up with her manipulative and needy mother, a woman unable to give the love and comfort every child has a right to expect. And then, as a young woman, Fowler found herself involved with a man whose behavior disturbingly echoed her mother’s. The man she lived with alternately displayed a desperate need for her or rejected her as if she were worse than useless. With heart-wrenching candor, Fowler records the abuse she suffered at his hands, from his constant attempts to undermine her self- confidence to his acts of brutal physical violence. The unconditional love Fowler longed for finally came–in the shape of an adoring Labrador puppy named Kateland. With Katie at her side, she was able to withstand her mistreatment and the crushing weight of her childhood and, miraculously, managed to create a small refuge from the horrors that surrounded her."
K. J. Wilson


Introduction -- The dynamics of abusive relationships -- The effects of family violence on children -- Teen dating violence -- The intimate relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence -- Battered women and the legal system -- Living underground -- The oppression that binds : barriers to living violence free -- For friends, family, and loved ones : when someone you know is being hurt -- Domestic violence and the workplace -- Battered women and their health : the response of the medical community -- Battered women and communities of faith -- Domestic violence and the military -- Creating a community response to domestic violence -- Intervention strategies for battered women and their children -- Advocacy and empowerment -- Intervention and prevention programs for batterers -- Loving ourselves : self-care for helpers -- The national domestic violence hotline -- A history of violence against women.

Belva Plain

Robert and Lynn Ferguson seem to have a perfect life. But behind the perfect appearance, things are very different. Not even their friends know the truth, although when they see Lynn’s bruises, they begin to suspect. Can Lynn find the courage to admit the truth?