How to Leave an Abusive Relationship Safely
By Penelope R Van Buskirk*
Leaving an abusive spouse can be very traumatic, however, you are not alone. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year and the numbers are growing.
In so many cases, you as the victim of Domestic Violence, are under the control of your partner. He can be very loving and kind one moment and abusive the next. It can be very difficult to leave someone you may love, but it is important to focus on your future: a future without violence, abuse, and fear.
Planning ahead is crucial.
Secretly begin to gather your items (clothing, jewelry, toiletries) and, if you have children, start collecting their clothing, toys, ect). Make certain you have essential documents: Birth Certificates, marriage license, diplomas and degrees and tax returns. Store them in a safe place--either at a friends' house or in the trunk of your car. MAKE CERTAIN YOUR ABUSIVE SPOUSE DOES NOT HAVE A KEY TO YOUR CAR. If he does, secretly remove your key from his key ring, and replace it with a similar key which looks like your car key but, of course, it is not.
On the day you have selected, HAVE A FRIEND HE HAS MET WITH YOU FOR PROTECTION.
Fortunately, you have several options:
1. If you have relatives or friends close by who are willing and able to help you, take this under consideration. If children are involved, relatives might be the best place to stay if they are able to protect and guide you through your journey to freedom. They can also assist you in seeking the legal representation you will need.
2. Another option is to call a domestic violence shelter in your area. Shelters are no longer rooms filled with bunk beds. They have private rooms where you can rest and think. You will be guided by professionals who are well versed in all facets of Domestic Violence. If you do not know about the shelters in your state, you can contact THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE, on their website: http://www.ndvh.org call the toll free number: 1-800-799-SAFE. They will guide you to the shelters in your state. And you will soon discover that you are not alone!
It is crucial that you learn to believe in yourself again. Counseling will be extremely helpful as you climb your way to freedom. Repeat this mantra to yourself daily: "I am beginning a new life."
There is no shame in today's world regarding domestic violence as there has been in the past. Let go of negative thoughts such as "What did I do to deserve this?" No one deserves to be abused. Focus on a new future, free of fear and try and discard the feeling of helplessness.
So you don't think I am some fly-by-night eager to harvest some gripes of wrath, I understand what you are going through as I too was a victim of abuse. But you can become a SURVIVOR. When you have reached that rung of your ladder to freedom, you will feel such peace and begin to understand that love with abuse, wasn't love at all.
*Penelope Van Buskirk authored the book For Worse Never Better: Diary of An Abused Wife and Escape to Freedom. You can purchase on Amazon (soft cover is cheapest) or from Authorhouse.com which is even cheaper. 50% of proceeds go to the Chrysalis Domestic Violence Shelter