Vera Anderson's unique volume of photo-essays shows the faces of brave women (and children) who have escaped situations of domestic abuse and prints each woman's story--in her own words--beside her portrait. Anderson sums up each entry with one sentence describing the woman's life after her escape--from happy to harrowing endings. "Their mother is serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of their father," concludes one of the testimonials.
Women of all ages, races, and backgrounds look directly into the camera, answering the common question: What sort of a woman would stay in an abusive relationship? "You. Me. Our daughters. Our mothers. Our grandmothers. The faces of these women, survivors all, are poignant reminders that the questions we ask are so often the wrong ones."
In the introduction to A Woman Like You, Anderson writes, "Friends would say to me, 'I never knew. You don't look like a battered woman.' I agreed. But then, what did a battered woman look like? The truth is, battered women are all around us. We just don't recognize them, because they look like us."
Impossible to read without empathy and rage, this work's power is its simple and bold presentation. A Woman Like Youputs faces to a heinous social problem, but it also gives hope that freedom exists, however paradoxical.