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No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  4,359 ratings  ·  737 reviews
In No Visible Bruises, journalist Rachel Louise Snyder frames this urgent and immersive account of the scale of domestic violence in our country around key stories that explode the common myths-that if things were bad enough, victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that shelter is an adequate response; that violence inside the home is sepa ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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Start your review of No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us
Julie Christine
A (now former) Facebook friend posted a meme on his page a few weeks ago: a photo of an attractive young woman sighting down the barrel of a gun. The caption read "This stops rape. Not a whistle."

Every fiber of my being screamed NO. Only in America would someone think to put a gun in a woman's hand and say "Save yourself." I trembled with rage, but I didn't have the arguments, the vocabulary, to understand why that photo enraged me, shook me to my core.

A week later I began reading Rachel Louise
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a WOW book for me. I know about domestic violence and worked briefly at a shelter when I was in college, but the book still blew me away. Snyder is the rare author that can make broader points by telling individual stories. She sneaks in facts and data and process in telling a compelling story. She also grapples with broader cultural issues and shows a lot of empathy for the perpetrators of violence. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are few books that manage to highlight a complex social issue, show you just how little you understand it, AND THEN provide a litany of ways we as individuals and a society can have a huge impact right now. Snyder made me understand that domestic violence impacts every life and society, and then did something that felt amazing in a world of depressing articles and troubling news reports: she demonstrated concrete ways to make change. She gave me policies to advocate for. NO VISIBLE BRUISES ...more
Donna Hines
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
It's a global epidemic. It affects everyone of every nationality, color, creed and socio economic status. It's intimate, personal, and it's terrorism.
The #MeToo movement and social awareness has raised domestic violence to a higher platform but not high enough.
We must break the glass ceiling for all involved including men, women, and children and most certainly families if we are to succeed.
I know I'm a survivor of domestic violence by a former spouse and malignant narcissism ( personality trait
Katy Kennedy
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book finished me. I couldn’t finish it for months, and I wouldn’t allow any other book into my life until I finished it.

I made so many notes and had so many ideas, but now that it comes down to it, I can’t write them here. I hope to come back to this review when I'm in a better headspace to convey them properly.

For me, No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us was life-changing in the most literal sense of that phrase.


Mid-book thoughts from 12/2019:

This b
Given the subject matter, clearly a lot of CWs here, particularly around violence and emotional abuse

This is exemplary non-fiction. I'm not totally sure if this should be characterized as narrative non-fiction, because while sections of it definitely read that way, other sections are more in line with a kind of deep reportage style that is common to a lot of non-fiction on these kinds of sociological or cultural topics. Taken all together, the book that this most reminds me of is I'LL BE GONE IN
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This is such an important book, and also one of the most well-written non-fiction books that I have ever read - it is an absolute page turner. I feel that a copy of this should be sent to every law-maker in America, to help understand how to combat one of the leading causes of death for women, and to make everyone safer. Everyone should read this.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
edit: upping this to five stars. It's only grown in my mind since I finished.

My favorite read of the Booktube Prize opening round. To see why check out the detailed review in my Octofinal vlog:
I have met both abusers and victims and had some disturbing details divulged to me, but that did not prepare me for this book. In fact, I feel badly I didn't know how gruesome that domestic violence really is. It's always kind of the thing we blame on the victim, partly out of misogyny, but I would also say we don't worry about it like, say, a mass shooting, because it's not something (we men especially) think is going to happen to us. It's something we chalk up to making poor decisions and choo ...more
Laura Joakimson
Everyone who might want to save another person’s life needs to read this book.

This is not an easy book to read. For some reason I expected more statistics or a more dry recounting of facts.

But it’s very journalistically specific. It tells the story of a young woman who came under the complete influence of an older man. He had “coercive control” over her. She was fourteen when they met. They had two children together before she graduated from high school.

Many of the principles for recognizing wha
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy read, but a compelling one. Snyder has turned out a first-rate piece of research and writing that will shock and appall you. I hope this book winds every major prize possible, and that it gets tons of attention. It has a critically important message for the entire human race: domestic violence is a form of terrorism, and we need to change attitudes and laws to address it properly.
Steve Ellerhoff
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every one of us needs to read this book. If you have not been hurt by intimate partner terrorism yourself, please make time for this book. For those of us who have, it is hard to read—but in the way that needed medicine can taste terrible. This book is one of those books that stands in a unique position to raise our consciousness for the better. In this case, it stands to normalize advocacy and protection for abused women and their children, who are murdered in numbers that dwarf our country’s s ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an important topic but its treatment here disappointed me. What the author calls "literary journalism" involves putting thoughts into dead people's heads, injecting a lot of personal opinions and irrelevant details while mixing up timelines and case studies. More importantly, I felt the focus was very far downstream. To the extent that people in the book talk about prevention, what they mean is prevention of homicide as opposed to prevention of domestic violence. Stopping murder is obvio ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is absolutely heartbreaking, but it's also 100% necessary. It's terrifying. TERRIFYING. But it's required reading. You should read it. I'm not kidding.

I know that I'm going to be thinking about this book for a really long time, and it has radically informed what I thought I knew about intimate partner terrorism (domestic violence).

I'm just in awe of this book. (Also, the read-time in no way indicates how compelling the book is; I constantly wanted to be reading it, but I also needed b
Beth Robinson-Kinney
This was well-researched, but honestly, I did not see a lot of new insight on IPV here. I may be biased and/or not the target audience for this book, since I work in the field, but overall, I was hoping for a bit more.
Emily Nostro
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anita Cassidy
Felt so uneasy reading this and then I realised why: the author is so classist and does not evaluate or critique her own viewpoint at all. She seems more interested in telling stories than really interrogating the issues at play with IPV. Really disappointing.
My favorite non-fiction work that I read this year in 2020. Journalist Rachel Louise Snyder writes an amazing book that is full of insights about the chronic physical and emotional abuse of women from America and around the world. Her research is astounding and I learned so much about the lives of both the abused and the abuser. I guarantee that it will change the way you look at our society. I highly recommend this book. Five full stars.
Robert Sheard
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such an important book, especially in light of how little progress has been made on curbing domestic violence, despite some major attempts to institute procedures and safeguards to protect women before the cycle of violence ends up in their murder.

But I admit it was a very slow read for me. It's very well written, but I have read too many social justice books in a short period of time and I think I'm overloaded for now.
julia ☆ [owls reads]
This is probably the most important book I'll ever read in my life. ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘Love is what makes domestic violence different from any other crime.’

Some books are hard to read, and this is one of them. I take no comfort from the fact that it is set in the USA: geography might provide a false sense of distance, but domestic violence is all around us. And incidences have increased during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

So, what does this book tell us that we might not already know?

‘They stay because they choose to live.’

I grew up hearing people say that ‘if it was that bad,
Everyone should read this book. You might think that the subject matter would make it too harrowing, but somehow Snyder manages to lead you through it and to leave you somewhat hopeful that things will change. I really cannot recommend it enough.

I ended up typing this passage for a conversation on social media and am including here because I figure I'll need it again:
The average batterer, Adams told me, "is more likable than his victim, because domestic violence affects victims a lot more than i
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a very cheery subject but a very affecting book that gives you an inside understanding of domestic abuse. I am wiser for having read it because I apparently didn't understand the many nuances to abusive behaviour . Things I hadn't ever considered. I now understand why the abused person doesn't just leave. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in social issues. ...more
This is a fantastic piece of nonfiction. Well researched and compellingly readable. It’s definitely not an easy read but everyone should read this book.
50,000 may, when compared to some things, seem like a small number. After all, in the US, 96,000 plus people have died due to CORVID 19. But 50,000 is the number of women who were murdered world wide in a domestic violence incident. 50,000. The average each year for the US seems to be 1200.

Though I wonder, and this not a criticism of Snyder, how the government tracks these numbers.

It should also be noted that most mass shootings start with or include domestic violence. Something that gets glos
Meg Clayton
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rachel Louise Snyder tells specific stories which, taken together and mixed with a good bit of journalist fact, will turn your idea of what domestic violence is -- something that happens to others, remote from us -- into what it is, a problem of serious consequence not just to the individuals involved, but to the fabric of our society. This compelling volume ought to be on everyone's reading list. ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-favorites
A must-read for literally every human.
I found the book pretty unorganized
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
After hearing a couple of NPR reviews and conversations, I read Rachel Louise Snyder’s No Visible Bruises because I knew very little about the best ways to help people experiencing domestic violence. While Snyder does not purport to “know all the answers,” her empathetic and comprehensive book lays out several methods of intervention through which individuals, organizations, and society can help support victims and/or survivors. She does this by upending common “logic” about how to manage abusiv ...more
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Rachel Louise Snyder is a writer, professor and public radio commentator. Her first book Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade was published in 2007 by WW Norton. An excerpt of the book –aired on This American Life and won an Overseas Press Club Award. Her second book, a novel set in Oak Park, Illinois and entitled What We’ve Lost is Nothing wil ...more

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29 likes · 5 comments
“the elephant in the room.” That we won’t say, simply, that it is men who are violent. It is men who take their violence out on masses of others. School shootings are carried out by young men. Mass murders. Gang warfare, murder-suicides and familicides and matricides and even genocides: all men. Always men. “Every commonly available domestic violence and official general violence statistic, and every anecdotal account about domestic and all other kinds of violence throughout the United States and around the world, point clearly to the fact that men almost monopolize all sectors of violence perpetration,” Sinclair wrote.” 8 likes
“men are taught violence, but they are not taught intimacy. “Violence is a skill that we all had to learn just to stay with the pack growing up,” he said. “The trouble is, it doesn’t work for intimacy. That’s a whole different set of skills.” 4 likes
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