How Should A Battered Woman Respond?
The sad truth is that the first time you experience domestic abuse is often not the last time. Now you know that you have to be prepared for anything at anytime. To stop domestic abuse you need to begin to know your abuser's red flags. Come up with a code word to quickly let the children or friends and neighbors know you are facing danger. Be ready to leave at a moments notice. Have a bag you can grab right away containing documents you may need, cash, clothing, a spare key, anything that will allow you to stay away from the home until it's safe to return.
Begin to protect your privacy because the abuser may be looking for fuel to keep his fire going. Get your own cell phone or a pre-paid phone to reduce the risk of eavesdropping or having a GPS tracker installed on the phone to monitor your movements. You should be cautious with email and on-line conversations as anything you say can be taken the wrong way. Get into the habit of often changing usernames and passwords for all of your sensitive accounts.
You may seek a restraining order but that is often only a false sense of security because the abuser may ignore it and police may do nothing to enforce it. If you are moving on and away from the intimate partner violence you have been experiencing, it will be wise to get an unlisted phone number. Take the time to cancel your old bank accounts and credit cards as he may still attempt to use these statements to find you. If possible, use a P.O. Box instead of your home address.
Where Can I Get Help From Domestic Violence And Abuse?
As an immediate response to a situation you can call a crisis assistance hotline to speak with trained counselors who can walk you through your next steps to stop the abuse. National Hotlines:
National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656 HOPE)
National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233)
National Child Abuse Hotline ( 1-800-4-A-Child)
After you've made an initial plea for help and are determined to get out of your current situation, you can begin to attempt to get your affairs back in order. These steps won't be easy but may be necessary to begin to create some distance between you and your former abuser. If you are recently leaving abuse and no longer feel safe in the home, you may have to spend a few nights in a support group for women of domestic abuse.
Homes for battered women are staffed with advocates who fight for womens rights and can point you to resources as you cope with the trauma of abuse and violence. These homes for the abused often offer helpful therapy programs and can offer job training to help you become independent again. Assistance with legal services and child care can also be very helpful during stressful times of uncertainty.
When Do I Get Out Of An Abusive Relationship?
How to get out of an abusive relationship? Everyone on the outside looking in will say "why are you still with him" or if it was me "I would just leave him". You know that ending an important relationship is never easy whether you are dealing with teen domestic violence or married to your abuser. It becomes almost impossible to get a quick and fresh start when for so long you have been isolated from friends, family, threatened, controlled financially, and psychologically beaten down.
The last thing you want to do at this stage is hold on to the relationship. Don't allow yourself to feel trapped by confusion, guilt, or self-blame as if all of this is your fault. The only thing that matters is your safety. You deserve a safe and happy life and so do your children. You deserved to be treated with respect and there are people out there willing and able to help. You are not alone.
Don't fall into the trap of battered women's syndrome by staying hoping your abusive partner will change or thinking you alone can help your abuser turn it around. Retaining feelings of love for the abuser hoping that the relationship can be rescued or he will change his behavior is unlikely to happen. Fear of the unknown often traps a victim into staying due to worry about what will happen once they leave. Take steps to heal and move on and learn how to build new and healthy relationships with the help of others who care about you.
Should I Be Embarrassed About My Situation?
You are not alone and don't need to feel embarrassed or ashamed of what you are going through. Your family and friends still care about you and will be glad to see that you are seeking a solution. You can find help through books that tell stories of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that may help you cope with what you are going through. There are therapist who can listen to you and help you begin to heal from the emotional and psychological trauma. Look in the mirror and realize that you deserve better and can stop the cycle of abuse.
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