THE WAR ON WOMEN: ELLY ARMOUR, JANE HURSHMAN AND CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CANADIAN HOMES by Brian Vallée (Key Porter), 376 pages, $32.95 cloth. Rating: NNNN
Go to a news site on any given day and there’s a good chance you’ll come across a story about wife assault. That’s because from 2000 to 2007, more women have been killed by their male partners than U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The number of women who have been shot, stabbed, strangled or beaten to death by the intimate male in their lives is staggering. More than 8,000 have been silenced in the last seven years in the U.S., while 500 women have been killed in Canada in the same period.
The first part of The War On Women, Brian Vallée’s seventh book, is filled with shocking statistics and heartbreaking stories. The remainder is equally disturbing, focusing on the life of Elly Armour, who was so brutally abused that she ended up murdering her husband in 1951.
The story doesn’t end with his death. Vallée, whose Life With Billy (1986) documented the life of another battered woman, follows Armour until the day she dies at 72; the abuse she suffered stayed with her throughout her life.
I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the tyrannical heartlessness of such men, and The War On Women doesn’t supply answers or excuses.
Instead, it focuses on the permanent effects on women of these abusive relationships.
While women may learn from this book what an abusive relationship looks like, it is a must-read for men.
Many of us can’t begin to relate to the hardships women face in this patriarchal society, but The War On Women will help men empathize and shed light on how damaging some men can be.
Now, on the eve of International Women’s Day, is a good time to check this book out.