Cover Image: Hidden Bruises in Holy Places: A Victim’s Voice

Hidden Bruises in Holy Places: A Victim’s Voice

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Member Reviews

This memoir shares a difficult story of a woman who finds herself in an abusive marriage with a husband who is a religious leader and manipulates his family and community through several forms of abuse. I did enjoy the story, especially the glimpses into what daily life must have looked like. I found that some parts of the story were a bit repetitive, yet not very detailed. The timeline of the story jumps around a lot, which could be seen as part of a victim’s work towards grappling with trauma, however, I felt that with this jumping around, several events were grouped together and explained in limited detail. As a result, there were only short windows of opportunity to truly visualize or comprehend the situations which took place. I would have liked there to be more descriptive language and more opportunities to dive into what was going on, though I know that for survivors it can be difficult to do that! All in all it was an interesting read and I commend the author for sharing an intimate tale of abuse in hopes that others in her situation may find hope and strength through her story. Thanks to NetGalley and Carpenter’s son/clovercroft publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book!
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“Hidden bruises in Holy Places” details the author’s and her family's experience with domestic violence and her opinion on how to deal with it in a biblical faith based manner. 
I personally feel that the sections that compiled the “memoir” section seemed disjointed and would have been better if told in a chronological fashion as opposed to individual sections on “spousal abuse” “child abuse” “sexual abuse” etc. 

I do not agree with the author’s idea that someone experiencing abuse should leave it in god’s hands and “wait for a sign”. The advice section is quite frankly full of terrible advice. The advice given that you should only leave if they’re going to “destroy you” is wrong. How many women will read this and think “oh it’s not really that bad” and continue to stay in an unhappy abusive marriage? The idea that “You will leave when the abuse gets bad enough” is just ridiculous even under the guise of fundamental Christianity. If he abuses you or your children even once (physically, sexually, mentally or emotionally. Also animal abuse, abuse of power over people seen beneath him, etc), that’s the time to leave, and that’s the advice that should be given, not to wait it out for some sort of a sign that may never come. The author’s idea that she needs to take personal responsibility for being abused as if she is responsible for the actions of a severely mentally ill man is incorrect, so is her idea that the “ideal solution” should be to save the marriage. A lot of the advice given contradicts itself in different sections. I do not feel that the author, despite having personal experience, is qualified to be giving such advice. 

No resources were provided on how to seek out domestic violence shelters, anonymous telephone help lines, or non-faith based counseling (not everything can be healed by faith and prayer). 

As a chronological memoir only, the author’s story could have been inspiring and gave faith to those who need it during trying times. As a “self help book” the author really missed the mark.
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Michele's courage to come forward with her and her family's story will save lives. It's a Christ-centered book on how some people can use the word of God for evil and to hide behind the text that would never defend abuse of a wife, kids, or family.
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I really struggled with this book. I knew that this was the story of a preacher's wife who was being abused, and as a domestic violence victim advocate I was viewing this book as an opportunity to learn more about how people who are very strong in their faith have dealt with such a sensitive situation. While there was a lot of good advice in there, I feel like this book has the potential to alienate women who are either struggling with their relationship with God as a result of their experience, or have decided to cut off their relationship with God for some time as a result of their experience. I know she is just putting her experiences down, but the constant citing of bible verses made it seem (to me) like the author was minimizing or not realizing all of the hard work that SHE did. Sure, she leaned in to her faith heavily but SHE did all of the work. I was also very disappointed that there was not a list of resources at the back of the book. There is an entire section that speaks to a victim, and yet there were no resources if that person was not comfortable going to their church. There was also a lot of gender-specific wording that could be viewed as making it sound like women can't be perpetrators either. I admire Michele for all of her hard work on getting through this, and hope that she knows that in the situations where she was saying "I made a bad decision", she was doing what she needed to do to survive.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a opportunity to review this book.   A sadly accurate memoir from a Ministers wife.  Abuse is a unfortunate part of life for many people in positions of power in the Church.   This is a historic problem that continues today.  Hopefully books such as this will shine a brighter light on a problem that effects so many.
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Book Review for Hidden Bruises in Holy Places
Full review for this title will be posted at: @cattleboobooks on Instagram!
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