How to Keep Yourself Safe
by Raquel Hunter
The only way to be truly safe from an abuser is to leave him or her and sever all ties.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think someone may abuse you, there are some things you should know.
- While no one truly wants his or her neighbors to know their personal business, you may want to confide in a neighbor that you are being abused. You can tell your neighbor that if he or she hears any disturbances coming from your home that he or she should call the police for you.
- Try to have necessary items packed and ready to go in the event you should have to flee. You may choose to keep this bag in a place where your abuser will not see them. This could be in a box in the garage, at a neighbor’s house, or even in a garbage container that is outside your home.
- You may need the assistance of a charitable organization for food. Know where you can go to find this assistance.
- If there are children in the home, teach them never to intrude–or come between–you and the abuser.
- Teach your children how to call 911.
- Teach your children to go to a neighbor’s home if abuse erupts in the home.
- If you can, try to keep firearms out of the home. If firearms are in the home, you should make sure they are kept under lock and key. If necessary, hide the firearms from an abuser if you feel that he or she may be working up to a violent episode.
- Call 911 as soon as you sense your abuser is about to become violent.
- Try and find emergency shelters in advance that will take you and your children in if you must leave in a hurry.
- If you sense that a violent outburst is pending, it is best if you try to stay in a neutral area of the home. This means to stay away from the kitchen, garage, basement or other rooms in the home where sharp instruments or weapons may be readily available for an abuser to pick up and use.
- When officers arrive at your home, do not be intimidated. Tell them what has happened. Let them arrest your abuser.
- Have all injuries photographed and treated.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. They will direct you to places in your area where you can seek help.