How to Protect Yourself Against Domestic Violence
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There is no typical victim of domestic violence. No matter what shape domestic violence takes, the first step to protecting yourself is to admit you are a victim of domestic violence. Only then can you begin to educate yourself on the best ways to protect yourself.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it’s important to know help is available. Contact your local domestic violence program to gain access to resources and support. They can work with you to create a safety plan or provide counseling if you need it. Use a library computer or borrow a friend’s phone to contact the domestic violence assistance program if you suspect your partner monitors your phone and internet use.
Gather Proof of Abuse
Domestic violence is often an invisible crime. Avoid drawn-out arguments and court proceedings by arming yourself with proof. A nanny cam offers a discreet way to record video surveillance footage within your home. Consider choosing a camera that automatically sends the video to your email or cloud server so you don’t have to worry about retrieving a memory card should you need to leave suddenly.
Collect Important Documents
Protect your identity and future by making copies of all important documents. Keep these somewhere safe and accessible outside your home. Change your online login credentials and account information to prevent your partner from gaining access after you have left. If possible, separate your finances in preparation to leave your partner. Consider opening a bank account in your name only if you share a joint account to protect your money from your abuser.
Make an Emergency Kit
You need to be prepared to leave should things with your partner spiral out of control. Assemble an emergency kit with everything you need, including clothes, money, and a spare cell phone. If possible, place a spare car key with quick-release mace spray in your kit to ensure you have access to transportation when you need it most. You should make a list of emergency contacts you can call for support should you need to use your emergency kit. Your emergency kit should be hidden away but easily accessible, so you don’t waste time.
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Plan Your Escape Route
Come up with believable reasons why you might need to leave your home and know where you will go once you have left. You’ll want to create reasons for daytime as well as nighttime. By telling your partner you need to leave for a plausible reason, you can avoid escalation of violence. If you plan to stay with a relative or friend after leaving your abusive partner, ensure you have a spare key to their home, so you always have access to your safe spot.
You should always seek to leave an abusive situation before it can escalate to the level of requiring self-defense. However, knowing how to defend yourself can be incredibly empowering for a victim of abuse. You can sign up for community courses to learn the basic techniques of self-defense.
Domestic violence can take a toll on your mental health. Even after you have left an abusive relationship, you may have wounds that need to heal. Counseling can help repair the damage. If you aren’t ready for one-on-one counseling, look into attending a support group or group therapy session.
Take Action Today
You deserve more than to be in an abusive relationship. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you need to make a plan to protect yourself. Support is available to help protect you from an escalating situation. Take the first step to protect yourself by making your escape plan today.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior between intimate partners. It includes a range of behaviors an intimate partner uses to exert power over someone, including emotional abuse, isolation, stalking, and economic abuse.
How common is domestic violence?
Most recent research states one in three women and one in five men have been the victims of domestic violence.
How can I best support a friend or family member who is a victim of domestic violence?
Offer your support, let them know you are there to help, and don’t judge them for their choices.