How to escape an abusive relationship -

How to escape an abusive relationship

Domestic violence occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, but it's more prevalent in relationships involving male batterers and female victims.

Tragically, women are 70 percent more likely to be killed after leaving their partner than if they remained in the relationship.

If you're trying to escape from an abusive relationship or know someone who is, here are some important reminders before making your first move.

Leslie Broome was once a domestic violence victim. Due to the abuse she experienced, Broome says she became an alcoholic and ended up homeless.

"It tears you down mentally, emotionally, and physically," Broome says.

Fortunately, the Rehab House in Myrtle Beach, S.C. was able to provide assistance.

"It's wonderful; there's so much love going on in this house and so much support," Broome said.

Now, she's alcohol free and ready to go to school. She hopes to work in the medical field one day.

One in every four women in our country will deal with domestic violence at some point in their lifetime.

Shirley Stewart counsels domestic violence victims in Shreveport, Louisiana. She says love is the reason why many women remain in an abusive relationship.

"We always think if we love somebody enough, we can change them," says Stewart. "But you can't re-raise [sic] grown people."

Making the decision to terminate a relationship is difficult, but acting on that decision is nearly impossible for many women.

Karen Parker Thompson has 21 years of experience working with domestic violence victims at United Family Services in Charlotte, North Carolina.

She says many women stay put because they are fearful of what their partner might do.

"Safety is a real concern because, typically, a domestic violence victim has been threatened and told ‘I'm going to kill you or hurt the children if you leave,'" Thompson says. "If she knows the batterer is capable of doing that, she's likely to stay in the relationship."

If you decide to leave your spouse or partner, here are some things you should remember.

First, make an exit plan. Computers are great for connecting victims to domestic violence resources, but experts say you should use one at work or at a public library so your partner won't be able to track the websites you have visited.

If you do use a computer in your home, many of these websites have "escape" buttons you can click on if the abusive partner suddenly walks into the room.

Don't forget, a batterer with access to your monthly phone bill can also see whom you have called.

"You really have to be careful as you reach out for help that you do it in a way that is safe and confidential -- that they're not going to realize what you're doing," Thompson says.

Come up with a housing plan so you know exactly where you are going, especially if you have children.

Gather important documents like your social security card, driver's license, passport, as well as your children's school or immunization records. Secure them in a safe place at work or with a friend.

Take as much cash with you as possible.

Don't forget to take prescriptions or other items you will need on a daily basis. 

Experts say the best time to leave is right after your spouse goes to work, because you'll usually have eight hours or more to drive to your new location and get settled.

"Domestic violence victims are some of the strongest women you will meet because they have been through war in their own home," Thompson says.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Service is available in 170 languages. They will be able to connect you to domestic violence resources in your area.

Additional Information: 

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