It's not easy to leave an abusive relationship, especially once you convince yourself that you've got no other options. However, once you do get to the point where you're ready to leave, you'll need to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe. Your abuser may choose to escalate the abuse once they realize that you're going to be leaving. That doesn't mean you should stay in the relationship. It means that you need to be well-prepared before you go. Here are four crucial steps you need to take now that you're ready to leave.
If you're ready to leave your abusive spouse, you've got to take care with how and when you communicate. You never know when your spouse is monitoring your communication. First, never use your home computer to make escape plans or to discuss the abuse. You may think that you're safe, since you opened a different email account. However, that's not necessarily true. Your spouse could have installed a tracking device on the computer, or you could accidentally forget to clear your history. One mistake, and your spouse will know your activities. Always use a different computer to communicate with people. It's also important that you're careful about the people you choose to confide in. You've got to make sure that they aren't also communicating with your spouse. To protect yourself, choose a confidante who doesn't know your spouse.
Keep an Off-Site Journal
As soon as you realize that you're ready to leave, you've got to start keeping a journal. Write down all the details of the abuse, including the dates, type of abuse, and details about the injuries you sustained. You should also write down the names of anyone who might have witnessed the abuse. The journal will come in handy if your spouse tries to deny the abuse. Be sure to keep your journal stored somewhere other than your home.
Arrange for Help Before You Leave
If you're in an abusive marriage, don't wait until you leave to arrange for help. In the days leading up to your departure, make contact with a domestic abuse shelter near you. Let them know when you plan to leave. Give them as many details about the abuse as you can. Not only will this give the shelter advance knowledge of your departure, but it will also give them the information they'll need to help you get out of your situation.
Choose the Right Time to Escape
Once you've gotten your plan together and the shelter knows that you're coming, make sure you choose the right time to leave. Never tell your abusive spouse that you're leaving. Instead, wait until they're gone to plan your escape. After you've left the house, don't go back inside. Get in your car and drive to the shelter as quickly as you can. As soon as you've arrived safely at the shelter, make contact with a domestic abuse attorney at a law firm like the Jack Weatherill Law Offices. They'll be able to help through the steps you'll need to take to protect yourself.