We know as domestic violence experts that making the decision to leave an abusive partner or even to stay with an abuser is not a decision to be made lightly. If you are currently a victim of violence, you know that it can be difficult to find ways to stay safe in your own home. We also know that many victims don’t want to “leave” their partner, end their relationship or “admit defeat.” Some people can see leaving their abuser as “giving up,” or “admitting defeat,” but in reality, it is the opposite. If you are taking a stand for yourself, you are not giving up, but you are starting again.
“Staying safe,” with regard to domestic violence can mean different things for different people. Sometimes staying safe in the face of an abusive relationship, environment, or situation means learning to cope in your environment until you have the ability to change your situation. Staying safe can also mean that sometimes a victim must leave their abusive partner to protect themselves and or their children. Staying safe can also mean waiting, planning, and preparing to leave rather than leaving overnight on a whim. It can be dangerous to leave the home of an abusive partner or even a shared home without preparing for what a victim can do after he or she leaves. The first 24 hours can be one of the most dangerous times after a victim leaves an abusive partner. Plans should be in place for at least the first 24 hours before leaving.
In order to stay as safe as possible safety planning is critical whether or not you are choosing and planning to leave. If you are living with your abuser at the moment consider ways that you can be safe such as monitoring your physical environment. That includes avoiding rooms like the kitchen and the bathroom when possible, especially during a fight. These rooms are very dangerous if a victim is cornered into one of these two rooms.
Staying safe at home can also mean having an emergency plan prepared as well as an emergency bag. An emergency bag should be prepared with important documents such as ID, passports, insurance information, money, a spare pre-paid phone, a change of clothes, and important medicine. Also, staying planning almost always means reaching out to someone for help. If you are a victim of domestic violence please reach out to someone you know or a local domestic violence or other social service agency.
There are people that can and want to help you. You do not have to stay in the situation you are in now. If you make the decision to leave the road ahead of you may seem long, but if you fight for yourself, you already are a survivor. You are not just a victim, you are a survivor. If you are in danger or know someone that may be in an abusive relationship speak with them and or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and learn about how you can help yourself or a loved one. Don’t wait until it’s too late to help yourself or someone else. YOU have value. You have worth. Stay safe. Call the hotline.
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