If you have been assaulted, or fear that you will be assaulted by your partner, it is important that you take every action possible to protect yourself. DON’T KEEP IT A SECRET AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. Make contact with one of the people on your personal resource list and ask for help and information. BE SURE YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO RUN TO WHEN YOU NEED HELP.
Of course you will have to keep that person’s identity a SECRET, or it won’t be safe for you to go there. You are the only one who KNOWS how dangerous your situation really is. Just having this information could put you at risk. If you are afraid your partner will find this, you may be able to leave it with a friend for safekeeping. If you are worried about protecting his reputation, or your own, don’t worry. Just be sure to go to people you can trust.
Most of the people you’ll be dealing with are professionals who are sworn to confidentiality. Your reputation will be protected. PROTECTING YOURSELF IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROTECTING YOUR REPUTATION. Remember, you DO NOT have control over the abuse, but you DO have control over your own safety and the safety of your children.
Even if you are not planning to leave your home, you should set up a PLAN for doing so, to ensure your safety in the event that your partner threatens to become violent again. If you watch his moods and behaviour closely, you will probably know when he is about to explode. Maybe he drinks more, goes out more, or doesn’t come home at all. Maybe he complains more or doesn’t talk at all.
What changes does he go through?
Is there a pattern?
It is important for your safety to know exactly what changes he goes through before he becomes violent. Writing down the events of past blow-ups may help you to identify a pattern.
THINGS TO TAKE WITH YOU IF YOU LEAVE:
In an emergency, leave as quickly as possible. Do not stop to collect the things on the list. Just go. But if you have time, try to take as many of these things as you can.
- important documents such as birth certificates, passports, citizenship papers, immigration papers, child custody papers, court orders such as a peace bond, health care cards, social insurance card, his social insurance number
- money, credit cards
- cheque book, bank book, savings bonds
- house keys
- driver’s license and car keys
- children’s favourite toys
- clothing for a few days
- valuable jewelry
If you are thinking about leaving you might want to collect some of these things and put them in a safe place, in case you decide to leave quickly.
What should I do if I think someone is being abused?
If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the emergency number in your community.
Put her safety first. Never talk to anyone about abuse in front of their suspected abuser. Unless she specifically asks for it, never give her materials about domestic abuse or leave information through voice messages or emails that might be discovered by her abuser. However, abuse thrives in secrecy, so speak up if you can do so safely. If she wants to talk, listen. If she doesn’t, simply tell her she does not deserve to be harmed and that you are concerned for her safety. Ask her if there is anything you can do to help, but don’t offer to do anything that makes you uncomfortable or feels unsafe. If she decides to stay in the relationship, try not to judge her. Remember, leaving an abuser can be extremely dangerous. Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can offer a woman who is being abused is your respect.