Chances are that you have had at some point a good relationship with your abuser and the good times still resonate. This should not make you lower your guard. There’s good sense in observing some basic safety rules. They won’t harm you.
- Stay in touch with the neighbours. If you can, take them into your confidence, enlisting their support in an emergency.
- Stay in constant contact with friends and relatives. Unless you are forbidden to talk to them, let your partner be aware that people are continuously in touch with you. Remember, your oppressor gains strength by isolating you: you are safer by staying connected with your community.
- When there’s a potentially violent situation, don’t allow yourself to get cornered at a location where there’s no escape, like a cellar or the bathroom. Try to stay near a door.
- Keep potential weapons – like sticks, knives, boxing gloves etc – out of easy reach, tucked away somewhere deep.
- Keep a phone handy at all times.
- Always keep a little money with you.
- Emergency numbers should be kept at hand – 911 for police, 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233), and so on.
- Without alarming them, teach your children how to react in an emergency.
- Keeping an emergency bag in a trusted friend’s house is a good security.
If you had to leave in a hurry, what would you need? Think of all the small essentials of your life – in an unplanned departure you may not be able to collect all the originals but you will at least have access to copies.
- Personal identification proof like copy of your passport
- Wedding certificate
- Medicines and prescriptions
- Important legal, insurance and other documents
- Driving license
- Duplicate set of car and house keys
- Documentary proof of abuse – photographs, medical reports
- Copy of children’s birth certificates