Here are the 14 steps you must take to escape domestic violence.
1-Determine if your situation can be improved by contacting the police.
While going to the police and pressing charges can be scary and painful, in many situations it is highly effective. Many people believe that the police can do nothing. This used to be true, but the laws are changing. Speak to domestic violence helpline about your local laws and the likelihood of a prosecution.
2-Understand why you’re running away.
Have you been thinking about running away for a long time, or has something triggered the thought? Maybe you’re running away because of one really big argument you had with your parents or spouse; maybe you’ve done something you’re ashamed of; maybe someone you live with beats you, or verbally assaults you on a regular basis.
Whatever your reasons, before you start packing up, determine if leaving really is the only option – there are ways to deal with problems besides running away. You are probably very scared and confused, so do not make any decisions until you have calmed down. Once calm, sit and think about all your options – if running away really is the only way to go, then proceed.
3-Figure out what is stopping you from leaving.
Often, an abusive person will use money, children, or pets to threaten the person they’re abusing and prevent them from leaving. Don’t overlook other accommodations for your children. Something temporary, will put your children in a loving environment, and will make it even harder for the abuser to find them. Many programs care for pets of people fleeing abuse, but if you’re not willing to leave your pets with them, consider leaving them with a trusted family member or friend.
4-Make a plan and think of what you can do if any part of your plan goes wrong. Make up potential excuses for everything!
5-Find a place to relocate where your abuser will not think to look.
If you have a former boyfriend or girlfriend that you trust enough to keep a secret, go there.
Do not leave if you’ve nowhere to go. You will be out on the streets, with limited money and, perhaps, children to look after. You might find yourself involved in dangerous crimes and in horrible situations as you try to get by.
Consider where your abuser(s) will look, and avoid those places at all costs.
6-Don’t keep any evidence of your plans at your house.
If your plans are discovered, it will make escaping much more difficult in the long run.
7-Create a new identity.
Consider changing your name, and everything else that makes you vulnerable to being tracked down, like your car, license plates, cell phone number, etc.
8-Pack anything that you may need and some cash
Yue may never be able to return back home.
9-Leave home quietly and carefully.
Make the person you’re evading think that everything is as usual for as long as possible. For example, leave at the beginning of a normal workday, so that your absence will not be noticed until the end of the workday, which gives you 8 hours (this amount can, and probably will, vary depending on your job) to make your move. If your abuser generally lets you have some social time after work with no consequences from them, say you are going out with a friend, buying you more time.
10-Notify the police department in your new neighborhood of your situation.
Give them pictures of your abuser(s) so that they will know to be suspicious if that person shows up. Let your new neighbors know. .
11-Take security measures in your new residence.
Get an alarm system; lock your doors regularly, etc.
12-Always look over your shoulder; don’t let down your guard.
It’s not the best way to live, but it’s better than being stuck in an abusive situation.
13-File a restraining order against the abuser.
This is a first step in protecting yourself for life. If the abuser comes near you, calls you, e-mails you, they will be arrested. Your abuser will most likely fight this in court and try to place blame on you.
If the situation arises where the judge may not issue a restraining order, ask for a dual restraining order, meaning neither of you can go near the other.
Keep in mind that a restraining order is just a piece of paper, not a force field. Police cannot be in all places at all times.
14-If you feel your life is in danger, consider your options for personal protection.
For many people, a non-lethal option is the best choice. Residual emotional bonds between the abuser can make such options as pepper spray and stun devices a good choice. However, these require close contact to be used effectively, and in cases where drug use is likely, can be useless.
If you feel your life is in danger, consider buying a firearm for personal protection.
If you do buy a firearm, get professional training; you can contact the NRA for a list of instructors in your area. In the U.S., if you intend to carry the weapon outside of your home, be sure to get the necessary permits and licenses. Civilian ownership of firearms is illegal in some countries, be sure to know your local laws & abide by them.
Other Things to consider:
Save your own stash of money at the bank. Don’t let your abuser know about it.
Keep your camera phone handy, and take a picture of your incoming calls (get caller id) if the abuser calls. If you can do so without endangering yourself, snap a photo of the abuser near you before you call the police.
Get in contact with family and old friends, even if you haven’t spoken to them for years. Often times, an abusive relationship is maintained by forcing a distance between these people. Explaining the situation can form new bonds and stimulate a new relationship.
Avoid using credit cards at all costs.
Make sure that running away really is what you want and have to do. If you end up rethinking things after a few days away, and then return to your home, you’ll be in an extremely awkward situation.
Find out if there is a local National Safe Place site to help you.
Shelters exist for women, men, or children experiencing domestic abuse. These shelters will provide you with a place to stay temporarily and resources to succeed independently. In Canada try www.shelternet.ca or google “shelters for domestic abuse” to find one in your area. These shelters often have translators and refer you to subsidized housing if necessary and will help you understand your rights.
Call a domestic violence hotline for advice before proceeding with the above.
Avoid using your credit card because if you use it your abuser can see where you have used the credit card.
If you are completely dependent on your abuser and receive health insurance through him/her using your insurance card to refill prescriptions, consult a physician, etc. will result in them discovering your location.
Before departing, try your best to stock up on medicines whose discontinuation would lead to serious medical complications. In some instances, doctors are willing to prescribe more than necessary for the month, providing you explain your situation & are not a minor. If this is not possible, and you have a trusted friend in an area far from your destination, ask if they’d be willing to pick up refills on your behalf and ship them to you.
This article does not fully explain the impact of an abuser’s intimate knowledge of your personal information. Using your social security or national identification number, full name, official place of residence (i.e.) where you’re running from), and date of birth they could easily obtain your credit report. Using this information, an abuser will be capable of seeing the location of all your bank accounts. As mentioned above, change your ID numbers and name before opening a new bank account, and request that all credit checks be approved by you.
If you call the police, don’t be surprised if they question your situation. A lot of abusers are careful enough not to leave bruises and police want to see proof on abuse victims. If the police won’t help you, try to enlist help from a close family member or trusted friend.
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