A Domestic Abuse Victim’s Guide to Freedom

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black and white  photo of woman crying showing domestic violence

Unfortunately, domestic violence is a common problem. Statistics show that one in four women and one in seven men in the U.S. experience physical violence from a partner. But because of victim stigma and shame, this is a problem that doesn’t get addressed enough while solutions are not often discussed.

It makes sense for victims to want to get as far away from their abusers as possible, but unfortunately, they often encounter obstacles like a lack of money and even laws that forbid them to leave with their children.

A Celebration of Women™ shares this guide to help domestic abuse victims get out of a bad situation and start a new life.

Make the Break

As you think about leaving, the unknown and uncertainty will make you feel highly vulnerable. You’ll need to weigh the logistics of relocation and have a real plan, instead of going blindly and trusting that everything will be alright once you leave. But as difficult as it sounds, this is what you need to do.

As you plan your escape, keep the car fueled up, the doors unlocked, with the vehicle facing the driveway exit. Hide a spare car key in a place where you can get to it quickly and stash emergency cash, documents, clothing, and important phone numbers where you can easily get to them. It could be at a friend’s house or hidden in the car by the spare tire.

If you don’t have a vehicle, contact people you can trust when you need a ride or a place to stay. If possible, rehearse your escape plan so you can create an alternative course of action if your abuser finds out about it and attacks you.

Finally, cover your tracks — abusers usually control their partner’s activities, as well as personal devices like your smartphone, computer, etc., so do everything you can to keep them from discovering what you are planning.

Move Out

If you cannot secure a restraining order against the abuser and don’t have anyone to help you, do your packing while your abuser isn’t home. You could even reach out to organizations that help victims of domestic abuse relocate to support you with funding and the moving process.

Choose your new home carefully. Ideally, this should be somewhere your abuser will have access to or guess where, like close to friends and family. But on the other hand, a new location without your support system can add to your loneliness, selfcare and isolation. If you have children, you should also look for an area with quality schools.

Start a New Life

If you’re planning to buy a new house for yourself, work with a real estate agent to make the process easier. Discuss your budget with them and determine what you can afford by taking into account your annual income, the mortgage you will likely get, etc. Also, factor in your monthly expenses.

black poster stating verbal abuse is domestic violenceIf buying a house at this point is not feasible, consider moving to a domestic violence shelter until you can stand up on your own two feet.

While you can only stay at a facility for a limited time, most shelters can also help you find a permanent home, a job, and other necessary resources you need to start a new life.

After escaping and relocating, make sure you start healing yourself because you deserve it! Separation will be difficult, even from an abuser, so you will need all the support you can get at this point.

Make new friends, work with a therapist if you need to, and focus on personal development.

To Conclude

It’s not easy to escape an abusive situation, but it’s possible — and it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Therapy, new friends, and a new life focused on personal growth and overall wellness can help you move past what you’ve been through and learn to build healthier, happier relationships moving forward.

A Celebration Of Women™ is a fantastic resource to help you see your life from a different perspective and create a better future. Visit this site often for more resources, inspiration and encouragement!

Thanks to Nora Hood

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