Safety Planning If You Decide to Stay
What Victims Can Do if They Decide to Stay
Gain Some Freedom
- Go ahead and do things (go to work, make friends, hire a sitter). Some abusers will not notice, or will grudgingly put up with it. Some abusers only bully those who are afraid of them. Do consider the risk involved.
- Plan an escape before you make any changes.
Start Changing Your Life Secretly
- Save money out of the grocery fund.
- Don't tell your partner that you are going to a daytime class or support group.
- Go out and meet new people- rekindle old friendships.
- Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of both leaving and staying.
- Acquire job skills- through community colleges, extension day courses, etc. Teach yourself to type, find out where to sell those wonderful sweaters that you knit.
- Get a new email that your partner does not know about and only use it at safe locations like libraries, internet cafes, work or shelters.
Learn the Signs of Coming Violence
- Work on sharpening your observation skills; does your partner drink more, find petty things to complain about, want to go out every night, sit morosely in front of the TV more than usual?
- Notice changes in your partner before he/she goes into a violent rage. Pay attention to changes in your partner's tone of voice, habits, behavior toward you and the children, and what he/she says.
- Know, and be as certain as you can, whether these changes take place weeks-or merely hours or minutes before your partner becomes violent.
- Write your observations down. You will have a clearer sense of the pattern, and feel more self-confident of what you deserve.
- Formulate a plan for what you can do if you do not have access to your phone.
- Know where a cell phone is. Have an emergency cell phone (some mobile carriers collect and provide 911 phones to victims), hidden in another location. Go where there are people.
- If there are guns in the house, have someone teach you how to safely unload handguns and rifles. Keep ammunition in a separate place, or if you anticipate violence, get rid of it. Lock it in a file drawer, or put it in some out-of-the-way place. Unload any and all firearms.
- Develop the habit of not wearing scarves, long necklaces, loose clothing, or jewelry. Clothes can be grabbed, and anything around your neck can be used to strangle you.
- Keep a good supply of gas in the car, and try to have it in working order at all times. Learn to drive if you do not know how.
Rehearse Your Departure
- Be sure not to tell your partner that you are leaving to protect yourself. Your partner will probably become more enraged and try to stop you. Leaving can be the most dangerous time for victims of domestic violence. Make sure you have developed a good Safety Plan beforehand.
- Anticipate the violence early enough so that you can slip away while your partner is at work. If your partner is not working, make up some type of excuse, like that you need to pick up some milk for the baby (offer to pick up something for your partner at the store as well) or that you promised a neighbor that you would bring over a recipe.
- Have several plausible reasons for leaving at different times of the day and night.
- If your partner's rage builds at night, plan to have a reason to go outside. Develop a habit of not bringing in the laundry until late, or of walking the dog or taking out the garbage at midnight.
- Once you are outside the door-just keep going.
- Get into the car and drive as quickly and quietly as possible- or keep walking until you are able to call.
- Create a code word with a friend/ family member that would let them know you needed emergency assistance or that you wanted to leave. This would obviously be a word or phrase that would not tip the abuser off to the fact you were seeking help.