October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a topic that has been discussed many times
here on the Beginnings Guides Blog. The new edition of the Pregnancy Guide was updated to reflect
new research that indicates violence rarely begins in pregnancy. We also created a survey to find out
who women should call when they are the victims of violence-do doctors always know what to do?
What happens when we do suspect a woman we are working with is a victim of domestic violence,
how can we use reflective conversation to help break the cycle?
In an effort to help support professionals, educators, and others working with families we have
put together a list of excellent resources to help inform and educate not only those we are
working with but ourselves as well. Check back throughout the month for more reviews.
This is an excellent source book that takes on the challenge of analyzing violence and its effects
on teaching and learning. Much to our benefit it also conquers the task of suggesting ways to design
programming for women who have experienced violence and its impact to learn successfully.
The 200 pages can at first seem intimidating but the outline is designed in such a way that one can
easily access and learn from the text. There are three main chapters that each includes an introduction,
tools, individual and group activities, handouts, and examples from existing programs. Photos are
displayed throughout the text to help reinforce the information.
The first chapter is “takes on the challenge” of helping women impacted by violence. Topics include
but are not limited to; understanding violence, reasons for addressing violence, exploring the complexities
of violence, and recognizing and understanding violence impact on learning.
The second chapter describes ways to build a support network for learners who have been impacted
by violence. Building community support, program support and even a support network on the Internet.
A key portion in any domestic violence training is emphasizing self-care for the instructor or educator,
which is included in this chapter as well. In this portion of the document the reader also learns about
the importance of professional development, learning about resources that already exist and how to
become a resource for others.
The third chapter is about reforming programming. Acknowledging violence, creating conditions for
learning and understanding the conditions that are needed. Ways to change existing curriculum using
methods that include writing, mediation and movement, and creative arts.
To summarize the information be sure to read the section titled “Next Steps.” It is important to
recognize as the author writes, “building support for the work is the most essential aspect of actually
doing the work.” The focus is not only on the obvious but also in helping to support one another, to
create a supportive community of educators both in person as well as virtual support networks.
The very last portion of the document includes valuable resources to help inspire some creativity in
program development. Resources such as “But I am not a therapist” and steps to the collage process
as well as examples of poems used in other programs. All of the resources listed lay a solid foundation
for freshening up existing programs and encourage exploration of other exciting resources waiting to
be picked up.
“A woman’s handbook: a practical guide to discussing relationship abuse” is an easy to read, illustrated
educational resource for women, men, parents, teens, educators, schools or anyone else interested in
obtaining information about how to address the issues of domestic violence and dating abuse. The
handbook was a collaborative effort between Liz Clairborne and The Family Violence Prevention Fund.
Topics include the basics; what is relationship abuse and what are some of the warning signs? Tips on
speaking to a friend who you suspect may be experiencing some form of abuse and the important role
of men in realizing this is not just a “woman’s issue.” There is an excellent chapter on Teen Violence
where a parent can learn how to recognize the symptoms as well as find tips on talking to their child.
The last few chapters focus on violence as public health issue, talking to co-workers and the importance
of employee training. The reader learns about the importance of creating a safety plan and what that
means. Resources include important organizations as well as media.