Letters to Young People – On Being Imperfect – On Spousal Abuse, continued
Escaping from an abusive relationship is not always easy. The following information is to be found on Dr. Phil’s website, http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/543
An Exit Action Plan: Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship
Planning a safe exit from an abusive relationship is a necessary and important step before breaking the ties with your partner. The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests following these steps to improve your chances of leaving safely.
• Know the phone number to your local battered women’s shelter.
• Let a trusted family member, friend, coworker or neighbors know your situation. Develop a plan for when you need help; code words you can text if in trouble, a visual signal like a porch light: on equals no danger, off equals trouble.
• If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
• Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made.
• Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures.
• Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
• If you need to sneak away, be prepared. Make a plan for how and where you will escape.
• Back your car into the driveway, and keep it fueled. Keep your driver’s door unlocked and other doors locked for a quick escape.
• Hide an extra set of car keys.
• Set money aside. Ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
• Pack a bag. Include an extra set of keys, IDs, car title, birth certificates, social security cards, credit cards, marriage license, clothes for yourself and your children, shoes, medications, banking information, money ” anything that is important to you. Store them at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house. Try to avoid using the homes of next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends.
• Take important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc.
• If time is available, also take:
Citizenship documents (such as your passport, green card, etc.)
Titles, deeds and other property information
Children’s school and immunization records
Verification of social security numbers
Valued pictures, jewelry or personal possessions
• Know abuser’s schedule and safe times to leave.
• Be careful when reaching out for help via Internet or telephone. Erase your Internet browsing history, websites visited for resources, e-mails sent to friends/family asking for help. If you called for help, dial another number immediately after in case abuser hits redial.
• Create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate.