Preparing to leave
Preparing to leave an abusive relationship is an important time as the violence may escalate when the abuser realizes that he/she may lose control over ‘their property’. After all, what does an abuser thrive on? Control. The most dangerous time for an abused man/woman is the time right after he/she leaves the relationship. However, all hope is not lost; there are support systems in place and safe ways to get out of an abusive relationship.
Notes to take:
- Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures of injuries.
- Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made, if possible. Keep your journal in a safe place.
- Know where you can go to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you.
- If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
- Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
- Contact your local shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis. WomensLaw.org has state by state legal information.
- Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college as you can.
- Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
Honestly, I know from my personal experience I had no plan to leave. I had thought about leaving, yes, but it wasn’t until things got so bad that I thought that was going to be it for me that I finally decided enough was enough. When I say I had no plan to leave I mean that I hadn’t made any preparations, I didn’t have a journal of violent incidences, I didn’t have the resources I do today. It was a spur of the moment decision. I didn’t have my phone with me and I know that that’s the case with most victims. If your abuser leaves you in the car or leaves you alone and you have the opportunity to leave, do it! Take that chance because you don’t know if you will get another one.