10 Critical Steps for Leaving Domestic Violence

Time and again, I see abuse victims want to leave but remain frozen in fear. They are scared because of the years of manipulations and genuine fear for their lives. Speaking from experience, I knew well before I left there was going to be a day I was going to pack up and leave the abuse. In my situation, the abuse began as manipulation — emotional and mental abuse. I vowed I would stay and “deal with it” as long as the physical didn’t start. I thought I was strong enough to handle the mental and emotional abuse and still keep my family together in order to have a father figure in my son’s life. (Yes, I now fully hear what I wasn’t willing to face back then. It’s better to be without than to be in toxicity.)

If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you generally won’t wake up one day and say, “This is the day I’m leaving.” — unless the situation is dire! Therefore, you have time to plan an escape route. The time allotted to your plan will determine if you can implement each of the items from the list or just some of them. That being said, there are a few, key, and extremely important steps to take in order to get out of your situation successfully.

1. Have money in a separate bank account from the abuser. (Do not put him/her on the account as a beneficiary.) Even a little bit of a nest egg will help you out.
2. Ask your trusted friends or family members for help on the day of the move. Please make sure they are 100% trustworthy and are solely interested in your livelihood. This is not a job for a “new friend”.
3. Let the police know you’re leaving. Go to the sheriff’s department and let them know when and why you’re leaving. This is important so you can have a paper trail of your actions.
4. Move personal items out beforehand. Once {s}he realizes you’re gone, there’s a high likelihood your personal belongings will be destroyed.
5. Move out of state — if possible. The further you move, the easier it will be on you and the child{ren} if any are involved.
6. Write a police report about every abuse encored. Make sure this one is set in your mind as a priority.
7. Have a safe house to land in — preferably one the abuser cannot get to easily.
8. Send the abuser a text to let him/her know you and the child{ren} are safe. If you allow him/her to speak to the child{ren} you cannot technically be charged with kidnapping (Here’s the definition of kidnap: verb (used with object), kid·napped or kid·naped, kid·nap·ping or kid·nap·ing.to steal, carry off, or abduct by force or fraud, especially for use as a hostage or to extract ransom.)
9. Get a lawyer — there are plenty of lawyers who work pro-bono (for free) for domestic abuse survivors. Be diligent in your research. A lawyer will be your advocate when things get stressful. They are your guide. Speaking to them with respect will get you a lot further than being rude.
10. Take a long shower and sleep

Above all else, it is important to stay safe, use logic, and cover your bases. You’re up against someone who has spent far too long manipulating every situation in your life since you’ve been together. And please remember, it’s best to get out alive than to follow a list. These are suggestions based on experience.

Most humbly,
Orsika Julia

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