"Self-worth is our right as an individual to feel that we have value."

Author/teacher Joanna Romer has collected true stories of women who’ve escaped and regained their spirit after abusive relationships with men. With examples like Clarisse, whose life turned into a nightmare of systematic stalking by a former boyfriend, or Sherye, whose alcohol and pill-addicted husband beat, trapped and isolated her—and once tried to murder her by tampering with her car—Romer shows the very worst that can happen. She demonstrates how abuse can begin in small ways—veiled insults, attempts to keep a partner away from family and friends—and can end with physical brutality. Sometimes the abusive partner begs forgiveness or offers presents, evoking his wife’s pity. Sometimes the problem begins in childhood, when for some reason a girl is convinced she is unworthy and unlovable, leading her to accept being abused. But, Romer reminds us, these women have done nothing to deserve being hit or insulted.

Romer offers advice of her own and from some well-known experts on the subject. She urges women to get away from the abusive situation, seek counseling, and look for ways to boost self-esteem. Her voice is calming but alert; one case history concerns a woman whose sister died from spousal abuse. Romer exhorts her readers to recognize carefully enumerated warning signs and suggests ways to evade and escape. She lists helpful organizations in a short appendix. In one of the most comforting segments of the book, she describes what it feels like to begin a new life that is no longer fear-dominated: “This is you, your old self, the self you were when you were still single and didn’t mind going anywhere alone.” With factual accounts of women who saved themselves from violence, Romer’s book will be a valuable resource for those still seeking help.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home