Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
Getting out of a domestic violent relationship is the hardest part of the relationship. So many factors come into play. Where are you going to go or how are you going to get the abuser out? There are usually children involved. What will happen to them? How do you make sure he/she canít hurt you once you are apart?
When I left my abusive husband in May of 2004 after a 5 year off and on relationship, I was terrified, but I knew about 6 months before this that if I didnít get out soon, I would be dead or he would be or, worse, one of the kids would be. I started making plans in January to leave him.
The biggest and scariest step is telling someone what is going on. You need to get a support system in place of people you trust and love you. It is very hard to leave on your own. I had my mom and best friend help me and I knew if I had to get somewhere safe in an emergency, I knew one of these two would be behind me.
Next, you should somehow save some money back. Open an account at a bank that your abuser will not know about or if you trust someone close to you, have him/her put money up for you. Every chance you get put money away. This will give you a net to fall back on when you get out or get your abuser out of the house. You will need to buy food, pay some bills/rent, maybe even need money for transportation.
Check with your landlord about having your name taken off the lease if you will be leaving. This way if your abuser moves out after you do without paying rent or takes his/her name off the lease, you wonít be stuck with an eviction on your record which will complicate your hunt for a new place to live in the future.
Try to secure a place to stay as soon as you can. There are some shelters that will take you in the day you call if you and your children are in immediate danger like the YWCA. Call before you show up on the doorstep if possible. The route I took was obtaining a restraining order. I had 2 young children and I was the one scraping the pot paying the bills and feeding the kids. I felt that since he was the one causing the disturbance in the house, he should be the one to leave not me and my kids. Check will a police officer the procedure you should follow to get a restraining order. Where I live, there is no charge to file one. I went before a magistrate within 2 hours of filing mine, told my story and was reassured that a county police officer would be there within 24 hours to remove my husband from the apartment.
Even though your situation may seem hopeless, there is more help out there then you realize. Donít be afraid to ask. There are lots of resources on the internet with phone numbers that you can call to find resources in your area. Here are some of those resources:
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Domestic Violence Hotline>/a>
Feminist Majority Foundationís Domestic Violence Resource Page