According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in nine men in America are domestic abuse survivors. If you’re experiencing this sort of trauma in your life, it’s important to know that you can escape and make a better life for yourself and your family. To assist, David Stone shares some advice for how to get away from your abuser quickly and safely and how to find a new, secure place to call home.
By Patrice Young
for Assorted Ideas, Large & Small
Domestic Abuse Survivors: How To Get Away
The first step to getting away is realizing that escape truly is your only option. Physical abusers rarely change, even if they promise they will, and if they have not made an attempt to get professional help, chances are they don’t intend to stop their hurtful ways.
When you do decide to leave, it’s wise to create a safety plan. Start by compiling any evidence you have of physical abuse, then find someone you trust who can help you get the assistance you need, like a family member or close friend. Put aside as much money as you can, hide an extra set of car keys if necessary, and once the time is right, don’t be afraid to call the police and request an escort.
It is important to plan ahead so you can take everything you need at one time. Start with important documents, including your driver’s license, passport, credit cards, and any other necessary financial information. Also, find your insurance cards, and take your most valuable jewelry or keepsakes. Put everything in a bag that is easy to transport.
Where to Go
Before you escape, you need a safe place to go. As you research your options, don’t leave a footprint your abuser can follow. Instead of using a home computer or personal device, use a friend’s or go to the library to gather information. Your abuser will likely be savvy enough to read your computer history, and they can easily tap into your device to find out where you’re going or what you plan to do.
When it’s time, reach out to local domestic abuse services to determine the best place for you and your children. Staying with family is an option, but your abuser will still have access to you if they know where to find you. A women’s shelter is a safer choice, and it provides you a layer of protection and privacy. Many shelters offer special services to help domestic abuse survivors reclaim their lives and move forward. It’s crucial to take advantage of these options to help pave the way for a better future.
Your New Life
Once the dust settles and you’ve made a break and are ready to rebuild your life, recognize that you have so many options to choose from.
It’s a smart idea at first to rent an apartment or a room while you get your affairs in order. This gives you time to adjust to your new life, possibly find a job, contend with any legal proceedings, and lay the groundwork for your future. Consider a move out of the city to maintain your distance. An area like Stamford has many apartments available for rent whether you’re looking for a studio, one-bedroom, or more spacious accommodations. Many of these units feature on-site security guards to give you some peace of mind.
The next step after finding your new home is to make a solid plan for moving. Enlist your family and friends to help you pack, talk to your children about the move, and plan ahead to have your utilities and internet turned on as soon as possible. Should you choose to get a landline, make sure your number is unlisted.
As for the move itself, if you have the means, consider using professional movers. Pros can quickly and safely move your belongings, freeing up your time to focus on unpacking and getting settled. Be sure to hire movers you can trust, so ask family and friends for referrals. You can also visit sites that offer reviews of moving companies so you have customer testimonials to help guide your choice.
Leaving a domestic abuse situation is never easy, and for many people, it takes years to escape. Once you’re ready to leave, use the tips above to help you every step of the way. In time, you’ll be in a better place and will be leading the life you’ve longed to live.
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