By: Nora Hood – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence, your number one goal is to get out safely. Doing this might be easier said than done, but with the right resources and support, finding a new way forward is possible. Use these resources to find a safe way out so you can begin to heal.
Form a Safety Plan
Taking the leap to get away from an abuser is scary. Abusers often make their partner feel powerless and isolate them by controlling finances or distancing them from loved ones. These are very real concerns, but a safety plan can help you find a way around these barriers. Start by reaching out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233 or through an online chat at thehotline.org. You can also use the hotline’s resources to form a safety plan, which will give you the tools you need to leave safely. These steps include opening a bank account in your own name, packing a bag, gathering important documents, and finding a safe place where you can go.
It’s important to locate a safe space and know who you can turn to for help. Create a list of friends or family members with their addresses and phone numbers. If you don’t have somewhere safe to go, search online for a domestic violence shelter near your home. Seeking help from a shelter can give you a safe place to make this transition, and they will also be able to provide other resources and help you find permanent housing. Once you have found a safe place to go, plan an escape route so you can get there quickly. As you prepare to get out, gather some essential items, including important documents such as your birth certificate, social security card, and your driver’s license and registration. Some of these documents might be necessary when you look for permanent housing.
Having cell phones, tablets, and other devices at your fingertips can be a good thing because it means you have access to resources and the ability to reach out for help. At the same time, it’s important to be aware of how technology can be tracked and used against you. Techsafety.org provides great tips for survivors, from documentation safety to protect your cell phone and internet privacy.
Staying Safe After You Leave
Getting out is the first step to starting over. Once you have left and are looking for a permanent home, it’s important to take some measures to keep your home safe. When buying a new home, HuffPost recommends avoiding places that are secluded. Look for a neighborhood with plenty of neighbors that ideally has a neighborhood watch program. Make your new home safe by installing an alarm system and securing access points to the home. Install deadbolts and peepholes on doors, and secure windows with heavy locks. You should also consider getting a P.O. Box so you won’t have to give out your new address.
In addition to home safety, protect yourself outside the home by changing your routines. That might require finding a new way to drive to work and switching up when and where you shop. Technology safety remains a concern as well, so you may want to buy all new devices. Just as you keep your new address secure by using a P.O. Box, keep other aspects of your life secure too by being cautious about what you share on social media. If your abuser had access to your personal information, it’s a good idea to check your credit to make sure they haven’t used your identity to open any accounts and damage your credit. Doing this is an essential step to make sure you can remain financially secure.
Going through this process and maintaining your safety from an abuser is something no one should have to endure. Even if you feel afraid, realize you are stronger than you know. Reach out to whoever you can, and remember that there is always hope for a way forward.
Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.