Looking back, prior, to having to flee my home, there are so many questions I wish I'd have known to ask. One mistake I continually made with my abuser, was when I was trying to avoid being physically or verbally abused, I'd try and run into another room. To my own hurt, I'd usually run into the kitchen, or bathroom.
Now I know those were two of the worse places to run...there are numerous things in there that can be used as weapons. Another place I would try and run, was the garage...another big mistake. Then there was the time I was attempting to run out the door, while being chased. The fear produced the running and the running caused a bad fall from the porch resulting in numerous fractures...another bad idea.
So many of you that email me are asking similar questions. Since most of the questions are regarding "how" to stay safe until you leave, is the reason for this article. Keep in mind, that you all have variations to your particular situation and must 'tailor' the information given to meet your personal situation. I've gathered some very helpful information from a variety of sources. Each article I write I'll be sharing more and more.
If any of you are thinking that things can never change for you , that simply is not true. Take a look at some of the comments that are in the 'comment section' after each article. You'll see that there are ways for you to finally become free. The information below is from the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department.
ARE YOU ABUSED?
Does the Person You Love…
· “Track” all of your time and activities?
· Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
· Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
· Prevent you from working or attending school?
· Criticize you for little things?
· Anger easily when drinking or on drugs?
· Control finances and force you to account for what you spend?
· Humiliate you in front of others?
· Destroy personal property or sentimental items?
· Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or your children?
· Threaten to hurt you or your children?
· Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
· Force you to have sex against your will?
THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE
MYTHS vs. FACTS
Myth: Violence in families affects only a small percentage of the population.
Fact: 2-4 million women are beaten every year; in Oklahoma, 340,000 women are beaten on a regular basis every year; the FBI says that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States.
Myth: Poor families are more likely to experience violence than middle income and affluent families.
Fact: Violence in families crosses all economic, class, race, and educational levels.
Myth: Drinking causes violent behavior.
Fact: Although drinking and/or drug abuse are present in over half of all violent incidents, abusive behavior will not stop when substance abuse stops. Alcohol and drugs may lower inhibitions permitting more aggressive behavior.
Myth: Wife abuse doesn’t cause serious injuries.
Fact: 40% of women killed in the United States are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Emergency rooms report that the majority of cases of women seeking treatment for injuries are the result of abuse.
Myth: Religious faith prevents violence in families.
Fact: Persons of faith are no less vulnerable to abusive relationships than the general population. In some cases, religious beliefs are used by the abusers to justify their forceful and controlling behavior, and to obligate victims to remain in destructive situations that threaten their physical safety and emotional well-being.
Myth: Children need their father even if he is abusive.
Fact: Children need a stable, nurturing environment, free of fear and chaos, in which their self esteem will be preserved and enhanced.
Myth: Witnessing abuse doesn’t affect children.
Fact: Children who witness violence are 700 times more likely to abuse or be abused as adults than children who grow up in non-violent homes.
Myth: Once a batterer, always a batterer.
Fact: Battering is learned behavior and it can be changed. Help is available.
Myth: A battered woman can always leave home.
Fact: There is no law compelling a battered woman to remain in an abusive situation. However, there are a number of reasons that make leaving extremely difficult.
Myth: There is no help available for a woman wanting to get out of an abusive relationship. There is no place available to help her and her children.
Fact: Help is available. No woman has to remain in an abusive relationship because she has no place to go and no money to go. Any sheriff’s office or police department can help a woman obtain this assistance.
THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE!
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SAFETY PLAN
You Have a Right to be Safe.
SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
A. If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or anywhere else weapons might be available.
B. Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be the best.
C. Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative’s or friend’s home in order to leave quickly.
D. Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
E. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.
F. Decide and plan for where you will go, if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to.)
G. Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
H. Always remember – YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!
SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
A. Open a savings account and/or credit card in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
B. Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
C. Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
D. Keep the shelter or hotline phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
E. Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer. REMEMBER – LEAVING YOUR BATTERER IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.
SAFETY IN YOUR OWN HOME
A. Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
B. Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
C. Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
D. Inform family, friends, neighbors and your physical or health care provider that you have a protective order in effect.
I want to close this article by saying I'm well versed (now that I'm free) on all the information I just posted. However, I want to make it crystal clear that it's not always as "black & white" as most portray it to be. There are variants on EVERY situation...so keep in mind you must 'tailor' your specific needs around the information provided. Above all else, never feel you are alone in this, because you are not. There is an army of women that read your comments for the specific purpose of praying for you.