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2 Jan

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Violence UnSilenced

5 Oct

I make it a point, here on this blog, to stick to books. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of them are even important, but mostly I just want to talk about what I’m reading and not get into my embarrassments, paranoias, or neuroses. But I also believe, as Simon Sinek once said, “Your work is your own private megaphone to tell the world what you believe.” And so I would be remiss if I didn’t somehow bring up Violence UnSilenced.

I’ve never liked to read anything about domestic violence. I used to consciously avoid it when choosing the next book to read, let my eyes dart past it in the exceptional and usually horrifying instances when it warranted a few inches in the newspaper. And it went on like this for years.

And then something happened, as somethings are wont to do, and my life changed forever. I suddenly realized, with a clarity so devastatingly piercing I felt I’d been shot with an entire quiver of arrows, that domestic violence is not stereotypical, always obvious, or unique. There was one special arrow reserved for those things can’t happen to me.

I have never been abused or victimized by anyone, emotionally or physically, and it is one of my greatest blessings, but I can’t say the same for someone I loved, someone I still love, bone-deeply.

So now I read. Because if there is one thing I can do with my rage and heartbreak, with my regret that I did not see what I should have seen or heard what I should have heard, it to face this reality. I can bear witness, and so can you. 

Violence UnSilenced was created by Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz in 2009 to eradicate abuse by breaking down the pervasive culture of shame, blame, and silence that has built up around domestic violence. The site supports victims and others whose lives have been touched by abuse by giving them a place to speak out about what happened to them, by providing a space for their collective voices to rise up and unsilence.

Domestic violence can happen to you, or to someone you love, or to someone you know, and it does happen to countless people, in your town, in your workplace, in your social circle, in your backyard. This is everyone’s issue. Just because something is tough or horrifying or senseless does not, as readers and as humans, give us reason to look the other way.

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it seems fitting that this month, Violence UnSilenced will become an official non-profit organization. I’m am incredibly honored and excited to be joining this vital cause as a member of the Violence UnSilenced Board of Directors.

Please take the time today to read the launch post from Maggie. Giving voice to each experience is not only powerful, it’s how movements spread, so I encourage you to speak out yourself.

You can also help us build a strong foundation by taking the pledge, Liking Violence UnSilenced on Facebook, following Violence UnSilenced on Twitter, and following the company on LinkedIn. Your support matters!

Most importantly, continue to speak out against domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual assault in your own communities.We need your voice.

Thank you.

Book review: Numb by Sean Ferrell

21 Aug

If the title character of Sean Ferrell’s first novel were blindsided with a two-by-four, he wouldn’t feel it. He is “the man in scars and jeans who worked with hammers and nails but no wood.” 

From the moment Numb, a man who feels no pain and has no memory of his past, stepped into a circus ring with a lion, I was invested in him. When he moved to New York City with his best friend; when he rose to fame for nailing himself to bars; when he started living with a sweet, blind artist; when he gave in to a sado-masochistic relationship with an actress; when the tragedy and ugliness of celebrity twisted the puppet strings of his life; when he, and his emotional pain, finally fell apart; I pulled for him.  

Ferrell’s gift here is an inventive, creative story. The plot is perhaps a little light on the details – the reader must give up on the details of every who, where, when, and how – but the swift pace is somehow perfect. To slow down would be to feel perhaps a little too deeply how much everything hurts a person who feels no pain. 

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This book was published by Harper Perennial in August 2010. For more information, visit the author’s website. Clicking on the IndieBound logo below will help support me, as an affiliate, and independent bookstores. That’s called good karma, people. Happy reading.

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FTC Disclosure: This review was based on a copy of the book that I received from the publisher.

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