Domestic violence is a serious problem in our country, yet one of the worst parts of it is that it is so misunderstood. A lot of people question why someone would stay with an abusive partner, but what they don’t understand is that it is incredibly difficult to get out of a domestic violence situation. People in such situations often fear for their lives, and they find that they can’t escape without some kind of help.
Before we go into anything else, we need to stress that you should always call 911 or your local emergency service if you are in immediate danger. If you can’t call from your own home, try to leave and make the call from a neighbor’s home.
Make A Survival Plan
Most people in an abusive relationship find that they can’t leave right away, but you can come up with a plan that will make it easier to eventually escape. First of all, make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. These are people you can trust who will be able to help you get out of your home and into a safe space, whether that is a shelter or with a friend or family member. Provide them with anything you have that you can use to escape, especially if you don’t think it will be safe with your abuser. Come up with some code words that will alert them of serious trouble in your home. These words should sound innocent to your abuser, but they will be a signal for those in the know to call the police.
You should also pay attention to anything that could trigger any anger or violence in your abuser. You obviously want to avoid these at all cost. If you do find yourself in danger, stay away from any enclosed spaces in your home. Take note of places in your home where you can either hide or escape quickly if you need to get out.
Finally, be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. If you have access to a vehicle, make sure it has plenty of fuel and is in a place that can get away from your home quickly. If you don’t have a vehicle, make sure that you can call someone who will pick you up at any time of the day or night.
Domestic Abuse Hotlines and Shelters
Whether you are in an abusive situation yourself or you know someone else who is, there are organizations that you can call that will provide you with the support that you need. The biggest in the U.S. is the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-799-7233. The people working the hotline can provide you with emotional support if you aren’t ready to leave, and they can point you in the direction of shelters near you if you need to go somewhere safe. You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 if you are a victim of sexual abuse.