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Arm Yourself with Information

Free online handbooks can help violence survivors heal

  • October 22, 2014
  • By domesticshelters.org
Arm Yourself with Information

Escaping and recovering from violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, means you first need to understand what’s happening or what has happened to you. It’s an emotional and confusing time, and you have questions. Is what’s happening considered domestic violence? Was it rape if I’m married to him? Is it really my fault? Is it too late to press charges? What will happen if he’s arrested?

There are hotlines you can call to answer any and all questions you have, like the National Domestic Violence Hotline800-799-SAFE (7233). But, if you’re not ready to talk to a real, live person yet, for any reason, you can still find answers to your questions thanks to a plethora of resources online created just for survivors of violence.

Just make sure, if you are a survivor of domestic violence and are still with your abusive partner, that you access any information on abuse through a secure computer that your abuser won’t be able to track your history on. This could be a computer at a friend or relative’s house that your partner doesn’t frequent, at a public library or your place of employment. Below are links to free online handbooks that can help you answer your questions about abusive relationships:

Free Domestic Violence Resources

  • The Safe House Center is a nonprofit in Ann Arbor, Mich., that offers support and resources to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Access their Handbook for Survivors of Domestic Violence. This 91-page booklet defines abuse terms, gives you warning signs of abusers, talks about dating violence, helps you navigate the legal system, and more.
  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a free handbook you can download here called Hope and Power for Your Personal Finances to help you develop a plan for financial freedom, and perhaps, personal independence from your abuser.
  • Safe House also offers an online Handbook for Survivors of Sexual Assault. While written with Michigan residents in mind, the general information about sexual assault applies to everyone. It talks about common feelings after an assault, medical issues and the court system.
  • LoveisRespect.org offers a free online handbook especially for teens called What You Need to Know About Dating Violence, A Teen's Handbook. Written as a story about two teen characters, Angela and Joe, it examines how their relationship turns violent, with interjections defining what exactly abuse is and how to spot it.
  • Voices Against Violence is another online handbook aimed at a younger crowd. Created by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women, it was developed for teachers or group leaders to teach those ages 5 through 25 how to help end violence against girls and women, to learn about their rights and to speak out against violence in their communities.
  • James Madison University offers a brief booklet called Understanding Acquaintance Rape. It’s an important read—77 percent of rape victims know their rapist.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers myriad resources including handbooks, brochures, quizzes, and posters relating to abuse education.