7 Strategies for Being Safe While Living with an Abuser
It's the most common question when talking about domestic violence, "Why doesn't she just leave?".
While I'm certainly not encouraging you to stay, I know that there are lots of reasons people do.
Not every person’s situation is the same, but it generally comes down to damage done to us by a controlling partner, denying reality, or the hope that things will get better.
If you don't believe that leaving your abuser is the right move for you at this time, this article is for you. If you follow the advice below, you (and any children you might have) will be safer.
In this article we will cover these tips:
Create a Safety Plan
Memorize or keep a list of emergency phone numbers
Keep extra money
Pack a Go Bag
Create a code word
Avoid certain rooms during an abusive incident
Record abusive incidents in as much detail as possible
1. Create a Safety Plan
Give a copy of it and your schedule to someone you trust so they know where you are, when you're likely to be alone with your abuser, and what they should do if you need help.
** A FREE printable Safety Plan outline has been provided at the end of this article. **
2. Memorize or Keep a List of Emergency Phone Numbers
in your purse, wallet, or backpack in case you don't have access to your cell phone.
3. Keep Extra Money
in an emergency wallet or go bag that you can keep with you at all times. Ladies, extra money may be able to be hidden in your braw.
4. Pack a Go Bag.
(It's even better if this bag can be kept somewhere safe that isn't your home.). A few suggested items to pack include: extra money, copies of important documents (birth certificates, IDs, bank info, etc.), a few days worth of necessary medications, a couple changes of clothes, and a prepaid cell phone (preferably one without internet).
5. Create a Code Word
to tell the people in your support system that you need help without letting your partner know. It should be a word that you wouldn't normally use in conversation. Establish what they should do if you use your code word when you create it. Should they automatically call the police?
6. Avoid Certain Rooms
If you believe an abusive incident is about to happen, avoid rooms without exits (like bathrooms) and rooms or areas where dangerous objects are (like the kitchen).
7. Record Abusive Incidents
in as much detail as possible (in writing or using an audio or video recording). Record dates, times, and the order in which things happened. If you're documenting in writing and it is possible, take pictures of your injuries. * It's safest if these records can be kept someone outside of the home you share with your abuser, if that is possible. *
Click the link below to get your free printable safety plan outline.
In my book, In Case I'm Murdered, there's a chapter that addresses many of the reasons people stay in abusive relationships like not having money, not knowing where to go, child safety, child custody, pet safety, denial, false hope, and fear, and it gives some advice on how to find resolutions to those problems. If you're not in imminent danger, I recommend that you purchase your copy today. It's full of helpful information!
Hopefully you are now armed with a safety plan, emergency phone numbers, some extra money, and a code word. Maybe you have been able to pack and stash a Go Bag. You know what rooms in the house to avoid during a violent incident and how to document the abusive things that do happen.
Learn about your rights. You have the right to be physically and emotionally safe. You're not alone, even though it will feel that way sometimes. Look into what local laws are in your corner.
Stay safe until we meet again!