1.Keep the following items with someone you trust: a spare set of keys, a set of clothes, important papers and some money.
2. Keep any evidence of physical abuse (i.e., ripped clothes, photos of injuries, etc.).
3. Plan the safest time to get away, ( for example, when your abuser is at work or away from home).
4. Know where you can go for help. Tell someone you can trust what is happening to you. Have the phone numbers of friends, relatives and domestic violence programs with you.
5. Call the police if you are in danger and need help.
6. If you are injured, go to a hospital emergency room or doctor and report what happened to you; ask that they document your visit.
7. Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them to go: a room with a lock or a neighbor's house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
8. Arrange a signal with a neighbor (for example, if the porch light is on, call the police).
9. Contact the Schuylkill Women in Crisis hotline listed above to find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them or during a crisis.
Developing a plan sometimes makes victims feel empowered. It is particularly important that you not tell the abuser of your plans.
The Process of Leaving
When you leave:
- Make sure you take all important papers with you. These include social security cards, birth certificates, check book, bank statements, credit cards, car insurance, all sets of keys to the home, medical records, photo ID and/or driver's license.
- Take a change of clothes for you and your children.
- Take any medications that you are currently taking.
- It is generally best to let your friends and family know you are safe, but not give them information about where you are going. Most abusers will try to persuade friends and family, often successfully, to reveal your location.
- If you have been physically abused, threatened, stalked, or falsely imprisoned (prevented from moving about at your own free will), you might want to think about obtaining a Protection from Abuse Order.
CALL 570.622-6220 or 800.282-0634
for more information.
When you Leave an Abusive Partner
Having left the violence of your home does not mean that all of your problems are over. The person who has recently and frequently abused you may react in several predictable ways. Knowing what an abuser may do can have a beneficial effect on your ability to cope with his reactions to your leaving.
1. LOCATE YOU: One of the perpetrator's first responses will be to try to locate you. He will likely go to friends and family who he believes may help you. Depend-ing on the abuser's relationship with them, s/he may either threaten them or attempt to gain their sympathy. If they do not know where you are, only that you are well, then they cannot be intimidated into disclosing your location. If the batterer preys upon their sympathies, the story may be such a distortion of actual circumstances that they may even try to persuade you to return to the abuser. Remember: The batterer can be charming and persuasive, so be prepared for him to use this on others.
2. APOLOGIZE: If he does make contact with you, by whatever means, he will probably first try to apologize and promise to change his behavior. He may also promise other things that you have wanted, which can range from attending marriage counseling to buying things or having a baby. He will promise you whatever he thinks will bring you back within the sphere of dominance. Remember: Many male abusers have indicated that women are their possessions to do with as they please, and
they intend to establish and maintain control over them at any cost.
3. THREATS: The next pattern of behavior is one of threats and intimidation. If you no longer believe his promises he may now resort to threatening to harm family and friends, you, or the children. He may also threaten to take the children away from you or threaten harm to himself. It is recommended that you seek counseling from SWIC regarding the appropriate response to particular threats.
4. COUNSELING/RELIGION: "Finding" religion may also be a manipulative tool to get you to return. The abuser may suddenly become active in a particular church to prove that he has changed. The abuser may enlist a counselor or spiritual leader to encourage you to return to the relationship and help the batterer complete his redemption. Those who accept responsibility for their wrongdoings must understand that there are consequences to their behavior, which may not includeforgiveness by the victim and/or restoration of trust or the relationship.
5. BEGGING: If all else fails, the abuser may cry, beg, and plead for reunification. This may occur in a public setting, so that you are embarrassed or appear to be "hard-hearted." The batterer may further harass by leaving excessive telephone messages, misusing public systems to frustrate you (e.g., initiating unnecessary court actions, reporting you for fraudulant behavior to welfare, etc.), or showing up at your place of work or annoying friends and family. It is recommended that you seek counseling from SWIC regarding the appropriate response to particular behavior).
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