Irene's 5th book – “Broken and Unnoticed” (Vebroaken un Vestoaken) – is set for release in May, 2021. As with previous projects, Irene is writing in response to requests from women and service providers. The topic? Domestic violence. She believes hers is the first book on this topic in the Low German language.
Irene describes one of her paintings for the book: “It’s a picture of what happens in the home where domestic violence has control,” she explains. “It speaks to the isolation, brokenness, the harsh environment. And the two dust-devils twisting within themselves, not communicating with each other.” The image of a woman is hidden in the foreground (bottom, right). Like the title of the book, she is broken and unnoticed.
Irene is including true stories of women who have experienced abuse. Some have left their violent situations while others have not. Women who are abused often feel shame and guilt: they believe the abuse is all their fault and that God must be angry with them. Irene wants to give them words for the pain they experience along with the absolute confidence that God loves them. She also wants to challenge community leaders to listen, to believe, and to step in to help both the victims and abusers.
“I am on schedule with my writing, but there are times when the topic itself weighs down on me and I need to take a break!” says Irene.
One way she deals with the heavy content is by painting an image for each chapter. The act of creating eases the burden for Irene. She hopes that putting her art into the book will also lighten the burden for readers: to keep them turning the pages and facing a difficult reality that is usually kept silent and hidden.
“I hope women will gain knowledge and courage to break the silence, and find help for themselves and their children,” she says.