Educating yourself by reading can be a valuable tool for you if you are experiencing abuse or you care about someone who is. Identifying and understanding domestic abuse allows people to deal more effectively with it.
Reading can be helpful for a person who has not yet identified her experience as abuse or who is not yet ready to talk with anyone else about what's been happening. It may also be a way to get information if you or someone you know is very isolated or controlled by a partner.
It may be important that books or other reading material which discuss abuse be kept in a safe or secret place if the abuser is still around. Abusers often become threatened and more abusive when they find out that their partner is getting information about the abuse from someone other than themselves. One idea would be to leave the book at a library or supportive person's home and read it there if there is no other way to secure it.
Many experience a sense of relief and validation when they read something which describes their experience. It may help you to not feel so alone and to feel supported in the knowledge that you do not cause the abuse, despite what your abuser may be telling you. You may also recognize that abuse tends to follow certain patterns, and you may be better able to see the patterns that exist in your abuser's behavior. Finally, educating yourself through reading may help you clarify what steps you'll choose as you work toward freedom from abuse.
Here is a list of books which may be helpful to you in learning more about domestic violence:
When Battered Women Kill, Angela Browne
The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans
When Love Goes Wrong: What to do When You Can't Do Anything Right, Ann Jones & Susan Schechter
Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger, Barrie Levy
Naming the Violence: Speaking Out About Lesbian Battering, Kerry Lobel
Getting free: A Handbook for Women in Abusive Relationships, Ginny NiCarthy
**You Can Be Free, Ginny NiCarthy
The Ones Who Got Away, Ginny NiCarthy
Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Abuse, Michael Paymar
Women and Male Violence: The Visions and Struggles of the Battered Women's Movement, Susan Schechter
Chain, Chain, Change: For Black Women in Abusive Relationships, Evelyn White
Mejor Sola Que Mal Acompanada: Para La Mujer Golpeada, Myrna Zambrano
**Easy to read book - written in simple language for people with some difficulty reading English.
You can also check your local library or bookstore for the above.