Warning signals of domestic violence

"Dragonslippers: This is what an abusive relationship looks like"

This is the title of a sensational book by a woman who wrote the "story of a threatening relationship" under the pseudonym Rosalind B. Penfold. In the form of drawings, the author illustrates the creeping process of violence dynamics in the relationship to her partner, the aggravation, her escape and her liberation from the destructive connection.

"This is my story!" - found many readers of this book. The umbrella organization of the Autonomous Women's Advisory Centers (Autonomen Frauenberatungsstellen NRW e.V) therefore established a preventive campaign on the history of Rosalind B. Penfold in 2006. The author extracted 15 scenes from her book, which represent warning signals for an imminent threat, according to her experiences.

These "warning signs of domestic violence" are the heart of the prevention campaign - they were printed and distributed as postcards and are available as presentations for meetings and congresses.



The Round Tables in the district of Kleve hosted a congress on the topic Warning signals in 2010.

The Women’s Counselling Center IMPULS offers training courses for institutions on “Warning signals”.

From the introduction of the author:

I hope my drawings help to detect the warning signs for abusive behavior. For as long as we do not recognize them, we cannot understand them. And as long as we do not understand, we are in danger. Someone who abandons her or his self-reliance in the name of love is risking the gradual destruction of her-/himself. I know that not all abuse starts out from men and that not all victims are women, but I can only tell my story from a female point of view and hope that men tell their own story. I will not expose the characters of my story – that would not help anyone. I am telling the story of a global phenomenon, not of a particular person. Therefore, names, places and dates were changed and any similarities with real people or places would be purely coincidental. (Translated from the German introduction)

The book:

Rosalind B. Penfold, Und das soll Liebe sein? Geschichte einer bedrohlichen Beziehung, translated by Edith Beleites, © Eichborn AG, Frankfurt am Main, August 2006

Original title: Rosalind B. Penfold, Dragonslippers: This Is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like. Grove Press (20. March 2006).

The campaign:

Recognizing warning signals of domestic violence and act (“Warnsignale häuslicher Gewalt erkennen und handeln“), Dachverband der autonomen Frauenberatungsstellen NRW e.V., Phone 02043.681660


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