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Disclaimer: If you are currently in an abusive situation and worry that the abuser may track your Internet activity, a safer way to use the Internet might be to use a public computer, a friend’s computer, or a workplace computer. For immediate, confidential, free help with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and consider doing so from a friend's phone, a public phone, or through WiFi calling and deleting your call log afterwards.

To experience abuse or violence—at the hands of a loved one or a stranger—is such a powerful violation that it can damage our perceived safety & wellbeing while distorting our own self-worth. Without support, we may find unorthodox or self-destructive ways of coping that feel like our only refuge from the pain, terror, and trauma of our lived experiences. This can include substance abuse or changes in our mental health such as dissociation, depression, PTSD, self-blame, or self-harm.

Sexual abuse (SA) and intimate partner violence (IPV) are experienced by people from all age groups, regardless of community, education or income level, culture, ethnicity, faith, ability, or lifestyle.

If you have experienced abuse or violence, please know that it is not your fault. NO ONE deserves to experience abuse or violence– for any reason. You DO NOT have to go through this alone.

If you are here because you are concerned for a loved one who may be experiencing abuse or suffering from sexual trauma, please know there are resources to help you show up as well (view the Helping Others Experiencing Violence, Assault, or Abuse section below)

What is Abuse?

According to the National Domestic Violence (NDV) Hotline, abuse is a pattern of behavior used to gain power and control over another person. One of the most harmful effects of abuse is a loss of autonomy and self-trust.

Know what to look for. According to the NDV Hotline, if your partner displays the following patterns of behavior, you may be experiencing abuse:

• Telling you that you never do anything right
• Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spent away from them.Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers
• Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people
• Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school
• Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses
• Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with
• Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
• Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions
• Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets
• Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace
• Destroying your belongings or your home

If you have experienced any of the above from your partner, please check out the NDV Hotline's guide to understand how these behaviors interact and to begin to create your Safety Plan.

What is Sexual Violence?

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact. This includes words and actions of a sexual nature against a person's will and without their consent. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence.

According to the NSVRC, forms of sexual violence include:

• Rape or sexual assault
• Child sexual assault and incest
• Sexual assault by a person's spouse or partner
• Unwanted sexual contact/touching
• Sexual harassment
• Sexual exploitation and trafficking
• Exposing one's genitals or naked body to other(s) without consent
• Masturbating in public
• Watching someone engage in private acts without their knowledge or permission
• Nonconsensual image sharing

If you have been a victims of unwanted sexual contact, please know that it is not your fault. It is common to experience guilt, shame, fear, numbness, shock, or feelings of isolation after an experience of sexual violence, but you do not have to go through this alone. There are many wonderful organizations ready to assist you right now, and their services are both confidential and free. Please consider reaching out to any of the organizations below.

Finding Help

Our friends and family are not always equipped to show up for us when we have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse or intimate partner violence. Most times, they were never taught how to, as our societies continue to stigmatize survivors of sexual abuse and intimate partner violence. Even today, narratives around sexual abuse and intimate partner violence often manufacture ways to blame the victims instead of acknowledging the deep, systemic global harm created by power dynamics (e.g. sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc) that encourage the violence to begin with.

Please know there are many organizations and health professionals who HAVE been trained to see beyond society's victim-blaming narrative; who understand the delicate and complicated nature of the trauma of sexual abuse and intimate partner violence. They are available to speak with you for free, right now, and to hold a non-judgmental space to listen to your pain and offer substantive support & guidance for how to begin to change your situation and find healing.

This document houses the organizations we have found so far. It is far from an exhaustive list, and we are grateful for any suggestions or additions you may have.

You do not have to experience this alone. You deserve to live a life free from the fear of abuse or the trauma of past violations. Healing will not happen overnight, but you CAN walk this path with the support of professionals and volunteers who deeply understand where you are coming from and where you would like to go.

Resources for Domestic Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), and Dating/Relationship Abuse

Hotlines & Textlines

National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH)
www.thehotline.org
Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Call the NDVH or visit their website to chat with someone to help you for free 24/7. Their advocates are here to listen without judgement and help you begin to address what’s going on in your relationship Their Local Resources page can help locate clinics, advocates, and organizations near you who can help if you experience domestic violence or sexual assault

Read: What To Expect When You Reach Out To NDVH

Read: Creating A Safety Plan

Love is Respect
www.loveisrespect.org
Call 1-866-331-9474 or

Text LOVEIS to 22522
Specifically for teen and young adult relationships. Advocates are available for free through phone, text, and online chat 24/7. A safe space to discuss anything related to intimate relationships

Read: When Your Family Doesn't Approve Of Your Partner

Read: Ending Unhealthy Relationships

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org
Call 312-726-7020
Understand how abuse has affected you to help access safety, heal from trauma, and support others. Providing information on the intersection of domestic violence, trauma, mental health, and substance abuse

LGBT National Help Center
www.lgbthotline.org
Call 1-888-843-4564
Serves gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people by providing free & confidential peer support and local resources. Phone and online chat available. Hours vary

StrongHearts Native Helpline
www.strongheartshelpline.org
Call or Text 1-844-7NA-TIVE (762-8483)
Offering free, confidential support services for Native American and Alaska Native survivors of domestic violence everyday by partnering with the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center. Available 24/7. StrongHearts advocates have a strong knowledge of Native cultures and communities, including issues of tribal sovereignty and the law, and may be able to help you identify resources specific to your community

DomesticShelters
www.domesticshelters.org
Search and find a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter, or domestic violence agency in your area

COVID-19 Resources

Read: COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

Read:  Resources for COVID-19 Response

Tech Safety

Read: Technology Safety & Privacy - A Toolkit for Survivors

Read: Seeking Help Online - Considerations for Survivors

Resources for Sexual Violence/Abuse

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
National Sexual Assault Hotline
www.online.rainn.org (English)
www.rainn.org/es (Espanol)
Call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization focused on victim services, education, public policy, and consulting services. RAINN develops and operates best-in-class services for survivors. They also operate the National Sexual Assault Hotline (Available 24/7). Online chat also available in English and Espanol. Connect with a RAINN support specialist and their network of over 1000 sexual assault service providers

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
DoD (Military) Safe Helpline
www.safehelpline.org
Call 1-877-995-5247
Created by RAINN, the DoD Safe Helpline is a crisis support service for members of the military community affected by sexual assault. They provide live, confidential, anonymous support and information. Members of the DoD community can access Safe Helpline online, over the phone, through a self-care app, or through their group chat service

VictimConnect Hotline
www.victimconnect.org
Call 1-855-4VI-CTIM (484-2846)
Contact by phone or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services.
The VictimConnect Resource Center is dedicated to helping victims understand their rights and options, and make the choices that will best support their recovery. If you aren’t sure about who to call, they can speak with you about which helpline might fit your needs and what your other options are

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
www.nsvrc.org
Providing research & tools for advocates working on the frontlines to end sexual harassment, assault, and abuse with the understanding that ending sexual violence also means ending racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression. Resources also available to help survivors identify where they can get help how to access support during their healing journey

Helping Others Experiencing Violence, Assault, or Abuse

Do you know someone who is being hurt? Or perhaps you have a friend who is causing harm to their partner? If you are worried about what might be happening in a loved one’s relationship, we highly recommend these guides from the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence as well as Futures Without Violence:

Note: It can be hard to support someone who is struggling in their relationship, and it is important to take care of yourself while doing so, too. These guides can help you show up for your loved one during this challenging time.

Read: Friends & Family Guide - How to Help Someone in An Abusive Relationship

Read:  Supporting Someone Experiencing Abuse

Read:  Talking to Someone About their Abusive Behavior

Read:  Supporting Teens to Have Healthy Relationships

Read:  Ways to Help Children and Adults Living with Violence

Leer:  Formas de Ayudar a Niños y Adultos Que Viven con Violencia

Technology & Privacy Concerns

Note: If your loved one is in an abusive relationship, it is possible their partner is also monitoring their online and communication activity. A safer way for them to use the Internet (particularly when looking at resources for IPV) may be to use a public computer, a friend’s computer, or a workplace computer. The following guides are very helpful:

Read: Technology Safety & Privacy - A Toolkit for Survivors

Read: Seeking Help Online - Considerations for Survivors