Domestic violence takes its toll on women and men who are at the receiving end of abuse from the one person that they trusted to always be there. But while an abusive relationship tears apart your sense of stability, the truth is that you are not alone.
The American Psychological Association reports that 4,774,000 women in America experience some type of physical violence every year, and this number goes up when you take into account the men who are also the victims of abuse. While some abusive relationships can be healed through professional therapy, there are also some times when you must make an exit to protect yourself or your kids. Use this domestic violence exit plan as a guide for preparing to leave a dangerous situation so that you can begin to recover.
Prioritize Your Safety
According to the National Statistics on Domestic Violence, 19 percent of domestic violence incidents involve a weapon. Sadly, the risk of experiencing serious injury increases as your abusive partner realizes that you are thinking about leaving or have left the relationship. For this reason, it is essential to make your safety and that of any children from the relationship a priority. Always seek professional guidance, such as from one of our Cuppls experts about how to leave the situation if you have any concerns that you could be hurt worse in the process of leaving.
Establish Trusted Places to Go
For many people in violent relationships, a lack of resources is a major barrier to those seeking help. Focus on finding safe places that you can go when you are ready to leave. Ideally, this should be a place that your abusive partner cannot gain access to, and your personal safe place will vary depending upon the situation. While some people are safe enough to stay with a family member or friend, others may require a more secure location, such as a domestic violence shelter that keeps the location private. Generate a list of safe places where you can go that allow you to get away from the abuse and focus on rebuilding your life.
Prepare an Emergency Bag
There are times when you may need to flee with little time for preparation. Take the time now to put together a bag that has some essential items, such as a change of clothing, money, extra keys, and snacks if you have young children. Then, place this bag in a location where you can grab it quickly and where you know your partner will not find it. This could be in your car or at a friend’s house. Either way, this makes it easier to meet your needs during an emergency situation.
Gather Important Documents
After you exit the relationship, you will need certain documents to move forward with your life. For instance, you may need your children’s birth certificates to enroll them in school, and you may need things such as your car title to use during your divorce. Naturally, it is best to leave everything behind if you must do so to exit the situation safely. In this situation, your lawyer can help you recover essential documents once you are ready. However, you may find it helpful to make copies of certain documents if you have time. Just make sure that you store them in a safe place, such as in your emergency bag or with a family member, until you have completed your exit.
Seek Legal Advice
Leaving a domestic violence situation poses some challenges, like being afraid you might lose possession of your property if you vacate the house. Never let concerns about your property cause you to stay in a situation that leaves you vulnerable to harm. Instead, seek legal advice regarding the best ways to handle your specific situation so that you can execute your exit plan with confidence.
As you prepare your exit plan, find comfort in knowing you are surrounded by loved ones who support your decisions. Although you can expect some challenges along the way, leaving an abusive situation puts you in a better position to recover physically and emotionally so that you can look forward to a safer, healthier future.