One of the effects of domestic violence, not just the physical, emotional, mental, financial, and sexual components, is isolation. Often, abusers isolate their victims so that they don’t have a support system or a means of escaping. This can be detrimental because then, these victims feel as though they don’t have anyone to turn to. A lot of society has a difficult time comprehending abuse, and a lot of myths abound, but I want to restate this for anyone who is or has experienced intimate violence: you are not alone.
- Be prepared. Hide an extra car key, have the gas tank filled, and have a secret stash of emergency clothes, cash, and phone numbers you might need.
- Practice. Practice your escape plan so you can do it even in challenging circumstances. If you have children, include them in the practice.
- Memorize emergency contacts. If you have any resources or supports that you might be able to rely on, don’t count on having the list of phone numbers you might need. Memorize those numbers.
This article has good, practical advice for those who are looking to leave or individuals who think it best to stay.
“The Hotline” is a great resource available for victims 24/7/365. They provide confidential support. You can call at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text by texting the word START to 8878.
They can provide you with
- Assistance with a safety plan.
- Domestic violence education.
- Direct connections to local shelters.
- Agency referrals.
- Crisis intervention.
Online, you can visit The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, the Battered Women’s Justice Project (their phone number is 1-800-903-0111), and for the LGBTQIA+ community, there is Community United Against Violence. Bicycle Health explains the link between opioid dependence and domestic violence. Also, unlike a lot of the resources I recommended, they offer suggestions for perpetrators.
These are just a few resources, but hopefully, they will help you if you need immediate assistance. This, by no means, is an exhaustive list – always make sure your phone line is safe before making a call and your Internet browsing is secure.
I am not an expert; I am merely a survivor wanting to make sure others escape these terrifying relationships with as little negative repercussions as possible.
Also, these resources are only resources available in the States. If you need resources in another country and I can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My email address is isabelle DOT palerma AT gmail DOT com.