I have managed to finish the post I was doing on having a safety plan.
You see I made a mistake……….. I heard you all take in a collective gasp of air at the shock of it all!! haha Yes, I freely admit to the fact that I make mistakes.
The mistake I made has to do with Jill, or some of you might remember her as Eenie in the Eenie, Meeny, Miney Moe post and for those of you not familiar with any of it here is a brief explanation of what I am talking about.
A woman commented on one of my posts that she was being held against her will and being abused by her lesbian lover. I checked the personal information she gave me and it checked out, so I believe she was in danger. I promised to help her get out of the situation and long story short the FBI arrived at her location to take her to safety and she refused to leave. The next message I got from her was one saying the FBI had been there and her lover had beaten her and it was signed “Help”.
A few days later she commented again saying she had told her lover she was leaving her. That is the last I heard from her and I pray she is ok.
The mistake I made was to think she would actually leave if I sent help. Not that she didn’t want to leave or need to leave, she was unprepared to leave. I know when I was in a similar circumstance and had an offer to leave I didn’t take it. Why? because I was unprepared. I knew i was in an abusive relationship, I feared he was going to kill me, I slept with my truck keys under my pillow and my purse clutched in my hands, I watched him digging trenches with a bobcat and thought, “He could dispose of my body so easily in that boggy field, no one would ever find me.” I got his son out of there, when he punched him and I stood up to him when he made his sister miss her daughter’s wedding but when it came to me and my safety I was frozen in place, I could not bring myself to leave.
Why couldn’t I find the courage to leave? There were many reasons but one of the main reasons was that I didn’t have any money and no place to go, I didn’t want to go on welfare or go to a shelter, I kept thinking, “I just have to save enough for a month’s rent and damage deposit,” , “As soon as my truck is fixed and I can work again, I will leave.” , “If I find out he has cheated on me, again” , a ton of excuses.
I had told myself when I went back to him the last time that I was not walking away this time, this time it was for good, I had told him that also and he had acknowledged that my family would disown me if I took him back again and they had so I had no support system and I am stubborn; I didn’t want to admit defeat, that i had been wrong.
I could have eliminated many of those excuses if I had taken the time and thought to make up a safety plan. I had never heard of a domestic abuse safety plan, I didn’t know that most domestic homicides happen when the relationship is ending, I didn’t know that telling JC I was leaving (at his request) could drive him to kill me, I just felt the danger. I could have cut the tension in the air with a knife, him hiding in the shadows watching me walk through the barn looking for him, the stairs he built over the fence, locking himself in the barn for days on end, the sex that had become nothing more than a release for him and made me feel like a piece of meat. It had deteriorated to the point where I wandered around like a zombie, grateful for any civil treatment from him, thinking I was crazy and wishing he would kill me and end my torment and wondering when he would do it and how. I was afraid he would use a knife or set me on fire. How insane is that? I stayed with a man I was sure was eventually going to kill me.
When I finally did leave, because I didn’t want him to leave me; I had no plan, no where to go, no money, and feeling hopeless and helpless. I know how Jill felt, she knew she was in danger but the fear of the unknown outweighed her fear of her abuser.
The way to dispel those fears is to have a plan, check out your options, take steps to keep yourself safe until you can leave and have a plan in place in the event that he losing it and attacks you; to get away safely.
With that in mind I came up with a brochure on how to be safe in a Domestic Abuse situation. There is never a foolproof way to stay safe but using these guidelines will certainly help keep a woman/man safe and it also gets the victim thinking about their resources and makes them check out their options which can be empowering in itself.
I crammed a lot of information into this brochure, it can be printed on both sides of a letter size piece of paper and folded by 3rds. the camera on my phone is broken or I would put a picture of it up, but here is a recap of what it contains;
On the front are a few facts about abusive relationships, you open it and there is a section on the children’s safety plan,
On the back is a place to write important phone numbers for your individual area, I didn’t put phone numbers for shelters because I don’t know where these brochures are going to end up, this is more of a reminder to look them up before you need them.
Inside the 3 sections are;
* Staying safe while still living with the abuser
* How to make up an emergency escape kit
* Staying safe after you leave the abuser
The brochure is saved as a PDF and as a Word document and I will email it to anyone who emails me requesting it, just give me a day or two to get around to it.
I designed it as a handout so feel free to print as many copies as you want and hand them out if you want. We just might save a life.
Anyone wanting a copy can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify if you want a PDF or word file.