Those who are struggling with issues of Domestic Violence involve not only the person experiencing that situation first hand, but also those around them who know or suspect what is going on. While there are a bunch of resources out there for people in domestic violence situations, the difficulty is in getting those resources to the people who need them. Not only that, but it can be difficult to disseminate the information in a safe manner.
My situation was helped by the fact I had a good support team. When I got married, I made a promise to myself to prioritize my friendships and relationships with the people I cared about. If you are going through a difficult time, I know it is hard not to hide away and isolate yourself, but try to keep or rebuild some connections. If you haven’t, now is the time to slowly start establishing any relationship that is non-threatening to your abuser. Try and have something you do with enough regularity that it becomes routine and he or she hopefully doesn’t question it. This might help give you a break, and will help you make contacts that may help you if you need to leave.
If you are in a dangerous situation I highly encourage:
- Have a safe word or phrase (or two). I had a safe word for “Call 911 and come right away, I am in immediate danger”. I also had another safe word that was, “We need to move up my departure plans ASAP.”
- Do not use any computer or phone that the abuser has access to, or that the abuser can access the history or contact records of.
- Be wary of your use of social media and instant messenging.
- Create an emergency bag you can store at a friend or family members home.
- Whenever possible, have someone else coordinate resources and plans for you, and perhaps be a point of contact. My mother did this for me. I barely had the mental capacity to get up in the morning, let alone function on any rational level due to my level of exhaustion. Below are some links you may find of immediate assistance.
Preparing to leave:
- (Getting Ready to Leave, Taking your children with you, After you’ve left.) http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=13422&state_code=PG
- Domestic Violence Hotline – http://www.thehotline.org/
Creating a safety plan