In new book, Hancock minister breaks silence on domestic abuse

Book is intended as a resource for those who assist victims

Book is intended as a resource for those who assist victims

October 10, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK -- "Breaking the Silence" is a book that the Rev. Anne O. Weatherholt would have preferred not to write.

Described as the Episcopal Church's response to domestic violence, the 124-page paperback book will be available at a book signing Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. at her church - St. Mark's Episcopal Church at 18313 Lappans Road south of Hagerstown.

Another book signing at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church in Hancock is planned in November.

"I always wanted to write a book, but wasn't sure what on," Weatherholt said. "Writing is therapy for me."

Weatherholt's passion for the topic of domestic violence was born early in her career, having been a member of the group that started Heartly House, a shelter in Frederick, Md., when she was at Hood College performing chaplain duties.

The book is designed to be a resource for congregations, clergy and others who assist victims of domestic violence. The book is published through the Morehouse Division of Episcopal Church Publishing.


"Breaking the Silence" is a handbook about domestic violence from a spiritual perspective, Weatherholt said. In the book, people will learn to recognize the signs of domestic abuse and learn ways to offer help to those who are caught in abusive relationships.

The publication of the book coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

Weatherholt is an Episcopal priest who also has served on the board of Citizens Assisting to Shelter the Abused (CASA) in Hagerstown. She has staff training on the spiritual side of recovery from domestic violence.

Weatherholt also serves on the Family Violence Council of Washington County, is a chaplain for the Maryland State Police and writes a weekly column for The Herald Mail. She has published many articles on the topic of domestic abuse.

"I began to identify a cycle or a pattern in domestic violence situations," Weatherholt said. She penned some articles for booklets, but felt the need to expand her experiences into a book.

Weatherholt credits the Rev. Wes Wubbenhorst, youth missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, for spurring her to take a small manuscript and turn it into a useful resource.

"Working with the victims of domestic violence, I find there is not enough time for prevention," Weatherholt said. By working with youth and providing information and help early, she hopes the cycle can be broken.

In the book, Weatherholt doesn't shy away from the concept of divorce as one way to break the cycle of violence. There is a chapter devoted to that.

"I try to undo misconceptions," Weatherholt said, stressing that unless the church gets more involved, it can be perceived as part of the cycle.

At the Sunday book signing, copies of the book will be on sale for $16 and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to CASA. Representatives from CASA will be on hand with information on local domestic violence programs and support. Light refreshments will be served and the public is invited to attend.

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