Vebroaken un Vestoaken (Broken and Unnoticed), the latest book by Irene Marsch, is being prepared for publication later this fall. Irene was hesitant to tackle the topic of domestic violence, but she has always chosen to respond to the needs she hears about from the women in her audience.
“It is very hard to be with this topic,” Irene says of the 16-month process so far. “But you’re writing to help others, not yourself.”
Irene researched the topic and wondered how she could possibly explain the concepts behind abusive relationships. Then she woke up one night with images in her head that visually portrayed the painful cycles and patterns of domestic violence. Those images became part of the book as paintings.
Vebroaken un Vestoaken includes the theory of why abuse happens, and it teaches about healthy family and community relationships. But the heart of the book is the raw and powerful testimonies of women who have experienced abuse.
Irene says it was a slow process for the women to tell their stories. Time had to be factored in for silence, for tears, and perhaps to stop and start again another day. And yet, the women were very willing to share; they were relieved that someone listened to them, and that someone believed them.
One woman talked about being abused by her father. “I don’t know you,” she said to Irene, “but I feel I can trust you. In telling you, I feel like I’m healing.”
As Vebroaken un Vestoaken nears completion, pray along with Irene that this book would be a catalyst for healing for all those who read or listen to it. That abusers would be open to receive help, that victims would seek safety for themselves and their children, and that community leaders would learn to listen, to believe, and to protect.
Many people have contributed to the book in a variety of ways. Shown here are some of the stages of production at Square One: Eli recording Irene's voice for the audio version; Stu unpacking Irene's paintings; Stu meeting with Irene to design the book; Nora proofreading one of the Low German drafts.