How to Get Help and Leave Abuse

I know it’s hard to ask for help, especially once you’ve internalized you need to leave and it’s time to make a plan.

Here’s how I help women (in America) find resources that are local to them. Save this in case you ever need to reference it. (It could be the same process in other countries. You might try.)

> On a safe computer that your abuser can’t access (your sibling’s, the library), or your phone when you’re alone (or a friend’s phone, if your abuser might be monitoring yours), open your search engine.

> Enter a phrase like “DV help” or “domestic violence resources” and your county or territory. Hit “search” for your results.

> Note the list of area shelters, coalitions, Legal Aid (which is staffed by attorneys who specifically help in low-income, DV cases), and others will come up for you. Most of these sites have emergency numbers, additional resources, and blog information you can dig into as you familiarize yourself with how to take your first steps. Most also have Safe Exit buttons, so that if your abuser would happen to get home or come into the room, you can click the easily accessible X and close the window with a second’s notice.

> Consider local YMCAs, too, and churches (especially your regional ministerial alliance) or community centers. Even if they don’t have a program to help survivors, they may well know who to direct you to.

> This next step may be one of the hardest, and it’s actually calling these places to tell them — in however much detail you’re comfortable with, to start — what your situation is. They will lead the conversation. They will help and guide you from there.

> Breathe. You’re doing it.

Please note: As a one woman show with structural and operational limits, I’m not able to offer emergency assistance or legal advice. (I also can’t send survivors money. Yes, I’ve been approached about it. It’s rare, but it happens.)

If you feel like your wheels are spinning and you can’t find traction, and you don’t know what direction you’re supposed to turn, email me: I’ll do the searching for you.

You can do this.

It’s not easy to leave abuse. Often it can be dangerous to leave abuse.

But it’s also dangerous to stay. It’s just as hard on you, your body, your soul, your kids, to stay.

And there are people in place, ready to spring into action, one way or another. You just have to ask.

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