Domestic abuse is traumatic, emotional, and confusing. You may feel desperate to get out but fearful to leave. The decisions are complex, the future is uncertain, and the pain is real. When the dynamic begins to change at home, your partner’s abusive behavior may escalate and they may become “unhinged”. There are many options to support those managing an unpredictable and volatile situation. You are not alone!
The time of separation can be the most dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse. Separation assault occurs when your abuser learns they have lost control of you. There is key information that is important to know, as you work to safely extricate you and your children from an abusive environment. Be judicious and wise in your actions as you plan your escape.
If you feel afraid for your personal safety, or that of your children, 911 should be your first call— this includes verbal threats. There is no shame in contacting the police.
Make local law enforcement aware of your current situation. At a safe time, visit your local police precinct. Share with an officer the location of your home, describe your current situation, provide the history of violence and/or threats, physical description of your partner, vehicle(s) and any/all weapon(s)— details, current photos are helpful.
Try to minimize contact with your partner, via text, phone and in person. Ongoing communication incites increased tension, and provides opportunities for more abuse to occur. Refuse to engage… short, factual communication with no emotion is best– you are not responsible for their happiness.
Minimal contact regarding logistics should be the only reason for communication during this tenuous time. Written communication with your partner is far preferable to verbal, and email is preferable to texting, for a variety of reasons. Remember, keep your communications short and factual.
Quietly reach out to a small group of friends, neighbors and family. Explain to them your family’s current situation, so they can be alert and will notice if things are “off”. Ask them to check on you and your children and to be aware of anything unusual. This is an important part of your support network.
WA Listens is a statewide support program implemented due to the impacts of COVID-19. Anyone feeling stressed, anxious and/or lonely can call WA Listens at (833) 681-0211 to speak with a support specialist or visit https://www.walistens.org.
Do not live in fear. Take charge of your life. You are not alone!