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Resources

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You are not alone and help is available if you need it.​

CA & Los Angeles Area:

Here is a comprehensive list of resources compiled by Peace Over Violence:

Abuse in your family or with a partner?

In a violent relationship?

Someone stalking you?

Were you sexually assaulted?

Are you a survivor of incest?

Are you being forced to do anything you do not want to do? Have you been threatened if you try to leave? Have you witnessed young girls being prostituted?

LGBTQIA Victim Information:

Are you considering suicide?

  • Call the Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)/1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  • Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-827-7571

Interested in FREE legal help?

Looking for a therapist?

  • Gina Polesetsky, M.A., LMFT  #133468

    • Specialties: BIPOC Individuals, Anxiety, Trauma, Incest, Relationships/Intimacy, High conflict divorce, separation, and co-parenting, Blended families and stepfamilies, Narcissistic abuse recovery

  • SelfWorks, (914) 341-2628, Group Private Therapy based in NY with virtual sessions available.

Other Resources:

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

  • Crime Victims Helpline: 1-866-689-HELP

Asking for help is one of the most courageous things someone can do.

Support a SURVIVOR

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It can be hard to know what to do to help a friend or family member who discloses to you that they have experienced a sexual assault or a violent crime. Anyone who has survived a violent situation knows that coming forward and sharing can often be the most difficult part of the experience.

 

We understand that this can be a complicated situation for you as a supportive friend and you may not know how to respond. In light of that, we have put together these tips on how to support a survivor.

Believe them! The single most important factor in a person’s recovery from sexual assault is whether or not they are believed. And they should be. Very few rapes or assaults are falsely reported. In fact, according to the FBI, only 2 – 8% of assault reports are false reports.

Assure them that they did whatever they needed to survive. Survivors often suffer from feelings of guilt and shame. Reassure them by telling them they did nothing wrong. Don’t blame them and don’t agree if they blame themselves. Remember that no matter what, no one deserves to be assaulted and that the only person to blame for a crime is the criminal.

Communication is key – ask the survivor what they want or need. This also helps them regain their power by empowering them to make choices for themselves. Allow the survivor to make choices for themselves, no matter how small. The predator/criminal took away their power to choose, so it is very healing for them to be able to make choices. Be patient.

Make sure the person you are supporting is not in imminent danger. If they are, offer to assist them by accompanying them to get medical attention or law enforcement involvement if they feel safe and comfortable doing so.

Make sure the survivor is attending to their own physical needs (eating, sleeping, etc.) and if they are not, offer to assist.

Encourage the person to broaden their support network with either counseling, peer support groups or online support.

Ask and follow their lead when it comes to physical reassurance. Ask before you hug them, hold their hand, etc.

Let the survivor be in charge of the conversation and always respect their boundaries. Don’t ask for details about the assault. 

 Remember you're there to listen and support. We're friends, not investigators. By allowing them to talk, you let them reclaim their voice.

Respect the survivor’s privacy. Don’t discuss what you are told with others.                   

The assault is not about you or your ego. Do not seek revenge against the assailant. Break the cycle of violence.

Make sure you are finding support for yourself. If you find yourself unable to support this individual, be honest about it.

I am sorry this happened.
It’s not your fault.
I believe you.
I’m here to listen.
Thank you for trusting me.
What do you need from me/us?
I am here for you and I support you.
Are you open to receiving medical attention or professional counseling? Would you like for me to go with you?

Helpful
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Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

If you are interested in gaining an awareness of the world around you and learning how to spot signs of danger before it’s too late, this book is an absolute must read. It is the primer by which we created the Girls Fight Back program and should absolutely be required reading for EVERYONE before they graduate from high school. I shared this book with my son when he was fourteen and I am confident that having this knowledge will help him to be safer in the world. Please buy a copy for yourself and your loved ones. 

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This follow up book to The Gift of Fear takes the basic lessons from that book and applies them to parenting and keeping our children safe. This is a must read for anyone with kids. Topics in this book include: what to teach our children about talking to strangers, how to interview a prospective babysitter day care provider or school, how to spot sexual predators, what to teach your child about what to do if they are lost, and what to teach your teenagers to help them stay safe.

Beauty Bites Beast
by Ellen Snortland

This book explains why learning self-defense is such an important skill for women and is a great intro to feminism for young women as well! 

In addition to presenting strong arguments for why all women should learn self-defense, Ellen peppers this book with real life stories of survivors. Powerful and an engaging read.

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One of the basics that all children learn when they go to school is the ABC’s. What they don’t usually learn, but all really need, is the ABC’s of safety. Ellen Snortland and Lisa Gaeta have stepped in to fill the void with their essential new book. Through the riveting true stories of 26 interviewees, they spell out the basics of what we all need to know to be safe and live with confidence. 

Most abusers display warning signs that intelligent women miss—mostly because the majority of women have not been trained to recognize them. In this groundbreaking book, Lynn Fairweather—an expert in the field of intimate partner violence response and prevention—provides women with the information they need to recognize dangerous men before they become victims of abuse.

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My Story
by Elizabeth Smart

Most people are familiar with the story of Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped from her home at 14 in the summer of 2002 and enduring 9 months of brutal captivity and abuse before being reunited with her family. What you may not know is that she is now a nationally recognized advocate for children’s rights and the President of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. 

The Unthinkable
by Amanda Ripley

Amanda Ripley’s book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—And Why, focuses on how humans react in disasters or stressful situations and how those reactions can save us or doom us. This intellectual approach to examining human response is both intriguing and enlightening into how you view the normal and the extreme risks that we are all exposed to in our day to day lives. Ripley teaches readers about The Survival Arc which includes the stages of 1) Shock, 2) Deliberation, and 3) The Decisive Moment. 

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Everyday Survival 

by Laurence Gonzales

At Girls Fight Back, we focus on using your intuition as one of the greatest tools of personal safety. Gonzales examines how the mind works in patterns to make us more safe at times and at other times to put us in more danger. Awareness is always the key, illustrated by the story he tells of a firefighter who sets his watch alarm to go off every hour during a fire. This is a great read to start you down the path of awareness. 

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