One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence from a partner. In the United States, nearly 20 people are abused by an intimate partner per minute. If you’re in an abusive relationship, you’re not alone, and there are ways to keep yourself safe.
First, know that computer use can be monitored. If you’re on a public computer or have made other arrangements to keep yourself safe, read on.
Create an Escape Plan with Friends or Relatives
When you leave, you’ll need a place to go and people with whom to heal. In many cases, though, abusers isolate their victims and make it difficult for them to know whom to trust. If that sounds like your situation, remember that the reality your abuser has created for you is most likely false. Reach out to old friends and family before you assume they won’t support you.
Make Sure Your Eventual Residence Is Secure
According to Stand! For Families Free of Violence, more than 70 percent of domestic violence murders happen after the survivor has gotten out. That means the most lethal time for a survivor is after escape.
If you’re unable to find family or friends to stay with, you can find a domestic violence shelter in your area. Know that most shelters will have already completed a background check on their employees, and often employ people who’ve been in situations similar to yours.
Guard Your Phone and Social Media
Abusers are often expert manipulators. While unwittingly coming into contact with them may not draw you back into their clutches, it can leave you shaky and struggling to find your way back out of the negative and fearful head space your abuser forces you into. Abusers know this, and they want to maintain control over you in any way they can, even if they know they’ll never be in a relationship with you again.
Avoid answering calls from unknown numbers. Make a habit of giving each person or organization you regularly deal with a contact name in your phone so that you’re not tempted. Consider blocking your abuser’s friends as well as your abuser, who may use their friends’ phones to get in touch with you. While you’re at it, watch for suspicious social media profiles that your abuser could be using to connect with you again.
Protect Your Children and Pets
Abusers can use vulnerable loved ones to wield control over you after you’re gone. Despite the danger, it may not always be possible or even the best decision to take these individuals when you first escape. Nobody can tell you what the safest strategy is for your situation.
However, if you can, try to take them with you to protect them and yourself. If you’re not able to find a place where you all can stay together, consider separating for a short period. You may be able to find temporary care for your pets, for example, while you and your children stay at a shelter.
Use a People Search Service to Help
If you don’t know your abuser’s criminal history, a site like PeopleFinders can help. You can perform a criminal records search to try and see if an abuser has been arrested before on similar charges.
PeopleFinders can also help you avoid your abuser altogether. Perform a reverse phone lookup to potentially find the real identity behind unlisted phone numbers or profiles that your abuser may be using. You can also use the same kind of searches to try and discern if any new people in your life have a connection to your abuser.
Call the Domestic Violence Hotline
It’s normal for victims of domestic violence to have had all their resources taken away by an abuser. If you can get to a phone in some way, any way, then call the Domestic Violence Hotline.
There are many types of abuse, not just physical. Don’t feel that your experience has been any less legitimate because your partner hasn’t physically hurt you. Regardless of the kind of abuse you’ve suffered, keep yourself safe now.
And use the many tools on PeopleFinders to help. For even more ideas on avoiding an abusive relationship and other situations, use the tips and tricks found on the PeopleFinders blog.
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