Thursday, June 26, 2008

Planning your Escape from an Abusive Relationship

Why do women not leave or put an end to an abusive relationship?
  1. Because of fear: Reduced self esteem resulting from repeated emotional abuse makes the abused fearful of what lies ahead. The abused feels that she may be better off staying with the abusive partner than to face the consequences from an angry partner. The abused believes that "doing nothing is better than doing something" so that the abuser stops a feared behavior.

  2. Lack of resources: These may be financial or the assured emotional support from family and friends. Women and children in abusive relationships have been known to be kept apart or distanced from their friends and family members.

  3. Presence of children and guilt: Women are responsible for "keeping a home." Shame and guilt associated with separation or divorce may be a result of cultural or religious beliefs. A woman's sense of "selflessness" makes her stay in an abusive relationship, thinking that it is better to keep the marriage or it damages her children's image or worth within society.

If you are contemplating on leaving an abusive relationship, you must have an escape plan.

The most dangerous time for an abused person is to be accessible to an abuser who knows that he's losing control. 40% of female homicides occur when a woman decides to leave an abusive relationship. The abuser "ups the tactics" he uses to maintain control of the victim. It is therefore important to have an escape plan. It will provide you with the ability to make the transitory state for you and your children safe and as short as possible.

  1. Seek professional help. Avail of counseling benefits that may be available through your employer. Counselors and social workers can advise of sources for medical, legal and social services.

  2. Secure or plan a place for your pet

  3. Keep a packed bag at a neighbor's house or another safe place. The bag should have:
  • A change of clothing for you and your children.

  • Important documents such as:

  • Birth certificates

  • Passports

  • Permanent residency cards or proof of residency

  • Social Security cards

  • Health insurance information and medical records

  • Bank account numbers

  • Extra cash and checks

  • Extra set of keys to your house and car

  • Paystubs from your abuser's paycheck

  • Familiar toy or book for each child

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