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No Visible Bruises

What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

Rachel Louise Snyder

Bloomsbury Publishing

No Visible Bruises Download image

ISBN10: 1635570972
ISBN13: 9781635570977


320 Pages



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Nominated for the National Book Critic Circle Awards for Non-Fiction

We call it domestic violence. We call it private violence. Sometimes we call it intimate terrorism. But whatever we call it, we generally do not believe it has anything at all to do with us, despite the World Health Organization deeming it a “global epidemic.” In America, domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, and yet it remains locked in silence, even as its tendrils reach unseen into so many of our most pressing national issues, from our economy to our education system, from mass shootings to mass incarceration to #MeToo. We still have not taken the true measure of this problem.

In No Visible Bruises, journalist Rachel Louise Snyder gives context for what we don’t know we’re seeing. She 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; and most insidiously that violence inside the home is a private matter, sealed from the public sphere and disconnected from other forms of violence. Through the stories of victims, perpetrators, law enforcement, and reform movements from across the country, Snyder explores the real roots of private violence, its far-reaching consequences for society, and what it will take to truly address it.


Praise for No Visible Bruises

"Extraordinary . . . [No Visible Bruises] takes apart the myths that surround domestic violence . . . In its scope and seriousness—its palpable desire to spur change—this book invites reflection not only about violence but about writing itself . . . [Snyder] brings all of fiction’s techniques to this new book—canny pacing, an eye for the animating detail and bursts of quick, confident characterization. There is a fullness and density to every one of her subjects . . . She glides from history to the present day, from scene to analysis, with a relaxed virtuosity that filled me with admiration. This is a writer using every tool at her disposal to make this story come alive, to make it matter."—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Snyder [goes] both wide and deep . . . her empathy for the victims is powerful, and infectious. But so is her interest in the perpetrators, some of whom may be able to recover, to change and atone. And as she makes very clear, those who undertake reform—studying and quantifying risk, asking smart questions about whether women’s shelters help or hurt, counseling survivors and getting them the support they need—are heroes."Los Angeles Times

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Rachel Louise Snyder

Rachel Louise Snyder’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Atlantic, and elsewhere. The recipient of an Overseas Press Award for her work on This American Life, she is the author of Fugitive Denim and the novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing. No Visible Bruises received the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. An associate professor at American University, Snyder lives in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @RLSWrites