Book talk with Sara Elinoff Acker author of Unclenching Our Fists: Abusive Men on the Journey to Nonviolence
Can abusive men end their violence? Reporting back from the frontlines of the batterer’s intervention field, Sara Elinoff Acker’s new book says, “Yes, some can.”
UNCLENCHING OUR FISTS: Abusive Men on the Journey to Nonviolence,
features eleven first-person stories of men from diverse class and racial backgrounds who have made a long-term commitment to end their physical and emotional abuse and controlling behaviors. These men speak frankly about the abuse they inflicted on their families, what it took to get them to face themselves, and how they feel about the damage they have caused. All participated in violence intervention programs, some for as long as ten years. To put a face on violence and to encourage other abusive men to face themselves, most of the eleven have allowed their photos and real names to be used in the book.
Acker’s book carefully examines the process of accountability and transformation for men who’ve been violent, and includes cautionary guidance for women experiencing abuse in their intimate relationships. She warns that only a minority of abusive men go the distance to make this kind of substantive change. Nonetheless, Unclenching Our Fists highlights one of the most underreported “good news” stories coming out of years of domestic violence activism.
Sara Elinoff Acker has been an activist
in the battered women's movement since 1985. She worked in shelter programs in
Northern Vermont and Western Massachusetts and in 1992 started the partner
contact program at Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) in Amherst. Acker became a certified
batterer intervention group leader in 1996 and ran groups for abusive men for
over ten years. She now works as a psychotherapist in private practice.