Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
The first step in getting out of an abusive relationship is to come up with a plan to get out safely. Having your plan written somewhere and kept in a safe place can help in times of panic. Here is a basic outline to get you started.
The following steps are my plan for increasing my safety and preparing to protect myself in case of further abuse. Although I can't control my abuser's violence, I do have a choice about how I respond and how I get to safety. I will decide for myself whether and when I will tell others that I have been abused or that I am still at risk. Friends, family and coworkers can help protect me, if they know what is happening and what they can do to help.
To increase my safety, I can do some or all of the following:
When I have to talk to my abuser in person, I can ________________________________
When I talk to my abuser on the phone, I can ___________________________________
I will have a code word for my family, coworkers or friends, so they know when to call for help for me. My code word is ________________
When I feel a fight coming on, I will try to move to a place that is lowest risk for getting hurt such as (at work)__________, (at home)____________, (in public)_________________.
I can tell my family, coworkers, boss or a friend about my situation.
I feel safe telling: ______________________________________________
I can use an answering machine or ask my coworkers, friends or other family members to screen my calls and visitors.
I have the right to not receive harassing phone calls.
I can ask to help screen my phone calls. (home)________ (work) _____________
I can keep change for phone calls with me at all times.
I can call any of the following people for assistance or support if necessary and can ask them to call the police if they see my abuser bothering me.
When leaving work I can: _________________________________________________
When walking, riding or driving home, if problems occur, I can: _____________________
I can attend a support group for women who have been abused. Support groups are:_______
Telephone numbers I need to know:
· Police/Sheriff's Department: ___________________
· Probation officer: _________________
· Domestic violence/sexual assault program:________________
· Counselor: ________________
· Clergy: _____________________
· Lawyer: ___________________
· Other: ____________________