“It ends with us,” says Colin Hoover, “Shouldn’t there be more aversion in our mouths to abusers than to those who continue to love abusers?”
Ohio University’s Survivor Advocacy Program, or SAP, and the Women’s Center collaborated to conduct a safe discussion of domestic violence in the form of the 2016 book We End Up Ending by Colin Hoover. SAP Director Kim Rouse planned the event in hopes of having an open conversation about the nuances of domestic violence using the recently published book.
Hoover’s fiction covers the topic by portraying the reality of an abusive cycle and the difficulties of leaving. With the growing popularity of “It Ends With Us,” talk of toxic relationships and domestic violence is ramped up, as Hoover’s themes are discussed by real-life victims.
As for the discussion taking place at the Women’s Center, staff understand the weaknesses and confidence needed to discuss these topics and that through Title IX, the event is exempt from mandatory reporting, Ross said.
“We know that having supportive spaces and open conversations can be therapy for survivors,” Ross said in an email. “As the discussion revolves around the characters in the book, we know that sometimes people can relate to these experiences and may want to share them during the discussion.”
With the popularity of “It Ends With Us,” there have also been some critics who believe the story romanticizes the idea of an abusive relationship. Ross said she is addressing these criticisms in defense of Hoover.
“I believe the book does a good job of helping the reader understand the nuances of domestic violence and the difficult decisions that survivors must face in these situations,” she said via email. “I think the author showed the ‘good’ parts of the abuser in this book because that’s often true. Presenting the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts of this character helped the reader to understand more realistically the relationships of domestic violence and the challenges that survivors face. People don’t engage in Too often in bad relationships all from the start, violence builds up over time and oftentimes their lives are so involved that it’s hard to let go.”
The relationship between books and the audience is based on vulnerability, allowing authors to write about difficult topics and ask questions that leave the audience relating to the character’s experiences by interpreting them with their own feelings. While victims of domestic violence must be highlighted to normalize the support they deserve, Ann Brandon, SAP’s director of prevention and education, said the media should also remind the public of the abuser and their unwarranted acts of abuse rather than blaming victims and survivors. .
Brandon said people should be careful when discussing abuse so they don’t focus on teaching people to protect themselves and instead ask why the abuser behaves the way they do. She said prevention messages about abuse protections are ineffective, as there is little or no evidence to prevent abuse at all.
“We are asking the wrong question. Should we ask why someone would commit abuse? “We need to stop talking about what you can do to ‘protect yourself,’ because if that works — domestic violence will no longer be a global problem,” Brandon said in an email. We need to focus on the root causes that allow violence to occur and hold those who harm them to account. Finally, as spectators, we need to promote because violence is not good, and everyone has to do their part.”
This month’s discussion highlighted not only the victims but also those who want to be supportive and ally to those in difficult situations. Brianna Hunt, a master’s student in the college’s staff program, recommended “It Ends With Us” to anyone wanting to be an ally or even to learn more about the subject,
It’s a very good book, and it’s very easy to read,” Hunt said. “And also, it’s very easy to empathize with Lily, the main character, and to learn from her as her own mindset about the changes in the case.”
Ross also agreed that those looking at how to start an alliance should read this book as well.
“I hope there is nothing ‘normalizing’ the topic of domestic violence because it is something we (should) not be complacent about or acquiesce in,” Ross said in an email. I think this book opened the door to discussion and allowed readers to better understand situations of domestic violence. It’s easy for an outsider to wonder how someone “deals” with certain behaviors or why they don’t leave, but in my opinion, this book does a good job of showing all the nuances and challenges associated with domestic violence. I hope those who have read this book leave with a new sympathy and understanding of the survivor’s experience.”
Both SAP and The Ohio University Women’s Center provide an outlet for those who need support or guidance, in any situation, no questions asked. And with the success of “It Ends With Us,” Ross believes the book will bring understanding to those undecided on the subject.
“While I know this book is a real challenge to read and potentially exciting, I’m really happy that it has gained popularity and is being discussed,” she said in an email. “Domestic violence and dating violence are often a private and intimate experience that is difficult for outsiders to truly understand. While I realize that the story in this book is by no means representative of all situations, it is a useful tool in understanding and building empathy with the survivor’s experience.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or abuse, please visit Contact SAP at https://www.ohio.edu/survivorMy sister’s place, a local shelter, in https://www.mspathens.org/ Or the Ohio Domestic Violence Network at https://www.odvn.org.