How To Protect Yourself Against Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is one of the most alarming issues across the globe. According to reports, one in three women and one in four men have experienced abuse in their lifetime in the US alone. In other parts of the world, these issues may remain unreported.
Domestic violence is repeated abuse and mistreatment in any relationship to gain control over another person. It includes any act that inflicts harm physically, sexually, emotionally, economically, psychologically, and technologically. Although the statistical report shows more women and girls experience domestic abuse, this tragedy can happen to anyone regardless of gender.
Here’s a helpful guide on protecting yourself against domestic violence.
- Create A Safe Escape Plan
One common misconception about domestic violence and any form of abuse is the victim can easily fight back or leave the relationship. Many victims may try to remove themselves from the situation and find themselves coming back due to coercion and manipulation. Therefore, creating an escape plan is difficult.
Creating a plan to safely end domestic violence may take weeks, months, and even years, especially within marriage or parent-child relationships. If you can, contact a domestic violence lawyer for help. In the meantime, here are the things you can do:
- Identify the Triggers: Abusers aren’t violent all the time, especially those who use manipulative tactics to convince you to stay. However, some situations trigger their aggression, and identifying them can help you stay on guard.
- Create Safe Spots at Home: Creating a safe hiding spot to isolate yourself is crucial to avoid injury. Choose a room you can lock from the inside and stay there until the outbursts are over. It’s also best to have a phone inside your safe space to call for help. Avoid the kitchens and other areas where the abuser can quickly grab something to hit you.
- Memorize Emergency Contacts: Knowing who to call during a crisis is imperative to remove yourself from the situation safely. Memorize all the emergency contacts instead of saving them on your phone, especially if the abuser has access.
- Change Passwords Frequently: Abusers utilize everything they can to control you. It may include your phone and social media accounts. Frequently changing your passwords can prevent them from stalking you online or tracing your calls.
- Find Excuses to Leave Home: If abuse happens at home, find excuses to leave frequently. You can visit a friend or family and ask for help.
- Save Money Discreetly: Domestic violence can be in the form of economic abuse. The abuser may withhold money to keep you at home. In these cases, discreetly saving money is best to have ample financial resources when you finally leave.
Leaving an abusive situation can make you anxious and even doubt your judgment. Remember, no one deserves to be mistreated. You have the power to protect yourself.
- Contact Authority
As you manage to leave the house or get isolated from the abuser, take every opportunity to contact authority. Call your local helpline and tell them about your situation to get a safety guide on leaving the abuser.
When contacting the police during or after a violent encounter, telling the whole story as detailed as possible is crucial. Get the case number of the police report for future reference. You can also request to connect you with a local crisis center to have a temporary shelter to stay in.
- Seek Professional Help
Repeated violence can cause trauma, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Even after safely leaving the abusive situation, you may still fear for safety and experience sleeping difficulties. When experiencing distress, remember that recovery is possible.
Seeking professional help is one of the first crucial steps toward healing from abuse. Undergoing psychotherapy can help you learn healthy coping strategies to manage the effects of trauma. You can also gain coping skills for anxiety and depression and get the necessary medication.
Abuse can cause scars not only on your body but also on your mind. Getting professional help enables you to regain your self-worth and reclaim your life. Recovery can also help you spot signs of domestic abuse, learn to protect yourself and others, and break the cycle.
- Join A Support Group
Joining a support group is a helpful way to thrive in your healing journey. You can learn from others’ experiences and be inspired by their courage, strengthening you to strive for better.
Furthermore, support groups can help give you a sense of belonging to a community. Experiencing abuse can make you feel isolated, so regaining and rebuilding social connections is crucial to healing.
- Maintain Zero Contact
Abusers can be persistent. Some will continue trying to find and contact you to get a hold of you again and promise to be a better partner, parent, brother, or sister. In these situations, stand firm and maintain zero contact. Rebuilding the bridges between you may only lead to further violence. Instead, focus on healing independently to protect yourself.
If you have experienced domestic violence, remember it’s not your fault. You can protect yourself against abuse by reclaiming your strength and courage and getting the help you need. You have the power to survive and thrive.