Education

Steps to Safety after a Protective Order

When it’s time to escape, make sure you have a plan!
 
Safety after Escaping Violent Relationships
  • Stop all contact with your abuser. Responding to this person’s actions could reinforce or encourage his or her behavior.
  • Keep any evidence of stalking, such as voicemails, texts or emails for future court cases.
  • Always keep a cell phone with you and don’t hesitate to call 911 if you you are in danger.
  • Have a safe place to go in an emergency such as a police station, public area or the home of a friend or family member that is unknown to your harasser. If you feel like someone is following you, it’s not good to go home.
  • Let your coworkers, friends, neighbors and apartment building personnel know about your situation. Give them as much information as you can about the person who is harassing you including a photograph of him or her and a description of their vehicle. Ask them to call the police if they see this person at your home or place of work; or ask them to let you know.
  • Try not to go places alone. Ask someone to walk with you to your car, vary your routes to places you regularly visit and get an exercise buddy to go with you if you walk or jog outside.
  • Report all incidents and threats to the police as soon as they occur. Keep a log of everything happening including the name of the officer in charge of the case and the crime reference number, if there is one. 
 
BE SURE YOU HAVE A PLAN AND TRY TO GET WHAT YOU CAN SAFELY!
 
When I knew I was going to leave, I had to make sure I did not show or share anything in my plan that would tip him off. I did not want him {my now ex husband) to know, I knew it would set him off, and I would not get out. So, I started putting my plan together.  In his world things seemed to be going good, but I knew it was only a matter of time before he would lose all control and start abusing me once again. You never know how they are going to wake up, come home from work or be out with friends, etc… Or, maybe you were gone too long at the store, or lost a few pounds.  It could be anything, To be honest, he didn’t need to have a reason.  I had stayed for so long that in his mind, he thought he had put the fear in me enough that I could not think for myself, He really believed that if he said he was sorry and that he would never hit me again, we were all good, I let him think that. I was to the point where I had programmed my feelings to lead him to believe whatever I needed to. It was all about survival. The fact I showed him grace and was nice,,,was enough to keep the peace a little while longer as I was working out all the details. You need to know that this was dangerous and I don’t recommend it for everyone. ONLY you know your situation and what will work for you.  This is something you need to put a lot of thought into. I have mentored woman where putting a plan together was not an option. Some victims of domestic violence have to leave with only the clothes on their back.  But, they left with their life, the most important part of getting out.
 
 
ABUSERS ARE SO UNPREDICTABLE

When putting a plan together, there is a lot to think about. Do you have kids, ? If so, you will not only be thinking about your safety and what you need but what they will need as well. I suggest you first start by making a list of items and keep a journal in a safe place, I kept my journal with a friend I knew I could trust. Every time I thought of something I knew we would need, I would call her and she woud add it to the list for me. I started taking things out of the house little by little so he would not notice. I first made a copy of my important paperwork such as:  drivers license, birth certificate, tax papers, banking and mortgage information.  I made copies of the registration and title to the car I was taking. You never know how your abuser will respond because you now have become the unpredictable. The minute he found out I left, he called the police and made up stories, I had to stay two steps ahead of him. If you have medications, you will want to make sure you have some at a safe place; have enough to last you for at least a few weeks. You don’t know when you are going to be able to go back and get anything so save yourself the headache and plan ahead, I even made sure that I had stashed some cash and got my own bank account prior to leaving.  If you share a cell phone plan, be sure to write down all important numbers. For my safety, I purchased a cheap phone so he could not track me. I activated the phone the day after I left. I also made sure he did not have the spare key to my car. I made sure all the utilties were in his name. I know that not all of this will work for everyone but it will help you decide what you need to do if you are serious about getting out. Once you leave, know that if you decide to go back he or she is going to use this against you. KNOW who you can trust and don’t just assume you can trust all your friends and family. 

YOU WILL HAVE TO GET CREATIVE!

Besides getting all the paperwork, what else is important to you? Do you have pets? Do you have jewelry? Do you want your photo albums? You might think you know what your abuser will do but if you are planning to get out and he can’t get to you, more than likely he is going to go for anything you like or would want. I knew my ex husband all to well so I had to make the choice.  It was my life or my stuff.  Just as I had predicted, he went on a rage and threw my stuff out in the yard and gave my stuff away right away. So, when I put my plan together, I had already taken the small stuff that I could. I knew I was going to have to start over again since he had already took my health from me and I was on disabilty. I knew my future was not going to be easy, but I knew it was alll worth it. It was not easy at first but once I was away, nothing mattered more than being happy and free of living in fear. The last time he abused me, we were having a good day.  He went to bed and came out about an hour later with a shot gun and told me to call my family and tell them that he was going to shoot me in the back of the head and blow my face off and I would need a closed casket.  He never let me make the phone call.  I’m sure he thought about it and knew if I made that call, my family would have called the police, He then decided to take me outside and try to push me into the road so I could be hit and killed by a truck. He did not succeed in doing that, so we went back inside the house where he sat with the gun in front of the door until morning, When morning came, he got up and left for work and I put all my planning and hard work into action. I called my sister and loaded up everything I could, I left and never returned. I am so thankful that God was always there with me even when I didn’t pray.  When I lost all hope, he never gave up on me, I did not see it at the time, I was so lost in just trying to survive. There was nothing about me that was thriving. Sharing my story is all part of Gods plan for me.  What I thought was a mess, He saw the messages to come, When I thought l was being tested and failing, He saw my testimony. 

MENTORING

I love sharing my story with others that are living in the same circumstances in hopes that I can help them escape like I did. Or maybe they know someone who is living in Domestic Violence that needs some words of encouragement.  If you know someone who is living in DV, love on them and don’t judge. It’s a hard life, They do not choose to be there. It’s not that easy to get out. Most people living in DV do not talk about it due to the fear and judgement and they are not sure if they will ever get out, Trust me, I know for almost 20 years I lived this life. As I look back in a weird way I was protecting him from the embaarrassment of others knowing. It’s sad that the people who did know was too afraid to intervene. Don’t stay! Get out and  you will be glad you did, Take all the right steps to safely get out. Domestic Violence does not get talked about enough.  Too many people turn the other way.