Recent news coverage concerning a man in
In case anyone who reads this blog is currently living with a physical abuser, I want to review some basics. If you aren’t in this group you still might find it helpful to read since you don’t know when a family member, friend, or neighbor might come to you for help.
Important Facts on Leaving a Physical Abuser:
- Abuse will continue to get worse over time. Some batterers worsen slowly and some quickly.
- If you leave successfully and then return, the odds are extremely high that the abuse will become much worse.
- Leaving a physical abuser is a catalyst for the most dangerous abuse. The majority of domestic violence homicides happen when the partner attempts to leave.
- If the abuser has ever threatened you with a weapon or has threatened to kill you or your children, the danger level is especially high and you need extra help to leave safely. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE/7233).
- A safety plan should be in place. Have one or two people who know that you are leaving, why you are leaving, and where you are going.
- If there has been any physical abuse at all, I advice leaving when the abuser is absent from the home. Leave a mild letter that says you and the kids are taking a trip. Specify when you will contact him via phone to touch base. You don’t need to say where you will be. This letter will avoid charges that you’ve kidnapped the children.
- Any note you leave for your spouse should be short and calm in tone. It is not the time to make accusations or get even. Saying you want some time to think is enough.
- If it is important to have a restraining order served, arrange for it to be served after you are already safely away. Restraining orders really deter some abusers and other abusers totally disregard authorities and legal orders.
- Sometimes abused women are determined that they should stay in their home and keep control over all their possessions. If you’ve only experienced verbal and emotional abuse, this might work out for you. But with physical violence and sexual violence in your shared history, I advice letting go of the house. You will be safer hidden in a shelter or at a friend’s home than trying to be safe in the house that he feels entitled to keep.
- If you need to be in hiding for a few weeks or couple of months, use cash, don’t log onto old email accounts, use a post office box, and always use a pay phone when contacting the abuser or any of his relatives.
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