PLAN YOUR ESCAPE

The most dangerous time for a survivor of domestic violence is the moment when he or she decides to leave their abusive partner. When the abuser realizes they are losing control over their victim, they often take drastic and sometimes deadly steps to regain their power. Having a safety plan in place is vital to ensuring that you remain in control of the situation. 

You should try to leave before the situation escalates – especially if your partner is verbally abusing you or threatening you. A safety plan will prevent you from wasting time and/or getting stuck or caught by your abuser as it can be difficult to make logical decisions when you are in a moment of crisis. 

SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY

Another factor in staying safe and unreachable from your abusive partner is to manage your privacy and location settings on your phone apps and social media. Always check and change your privacy settings on social media such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Adjusting these settings can hide your current uploads, location and photos from your abusive partner who might be trying to locate you. 

REMOVING YOURSELF FROM VIOLENCE

The authorities can help if you are leaving your abuser or your abuser is moving out, especially if you have a protective order. A constable or a police officer can be directed by the court to accompany you as you leave your property or to direct the abuser to leave. Under Texas law, you have legal protections to leave a residence. If you do not own the house, and you have a protective order, the landlord by law must break your lease.  

AFTER YOU HAVE LEFT

Once you have ended the relationship and have left your abusive partner, your emotions may not be immediately restored and it might take time and professional help to recover. Plan out activities that will help you recover.

Below are some activities that can help you regain your confidence and healthy emotions.

  • Embodying: Being kind to your body and becoming physically active is beneficial to your health and well-being in a controlling relationship.
  • Connecting: Connecting with family, friends and professionals can help regain support and self-esteem.
  • Organizing: Organizing time and physical space can help a person feel less overwhelmed. Having a daily routine helps organize your emotional life. 
  • Remembering: Some survivors compile a list of the controlling incident they experience. This list helps them realize what they have been through and their own strength.
  • Expressing: Express yourself creatively by dancing, drawing, gardening or singing. Many victims shut down creatively during a controlling relationship. You might discover what you used to love before the relationship.

If you are in an abusive relationship, you should devise a safety plan for you and your family so, in a time of an emergency escape from your partner, you are a step ahead. A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe after leaving a relationship and should be something you create before you actually need to use it. There are many factors that go into developing a safety plan, so it is best to create your plan in steps.

Below are links to personalized safety plans.

https://www.loveisrespect.org/pdf/SafetyPlan_College_Students.pdf

https://www.ncadv.org/personalized-safety-plan

http://www.ncdsv.org/images/DV_Safety_Plan.pdf

USEFUL WEBSITES AND NUMBERS

This month, Lone Star Legal Aid joins in raising awareness by sharing the stories of survivors and illustrating the kind of work it does to put an end to domestic violence.

If you or a loved one are experiencing abuse and need assistance, self-help resources are available via www.texaslawhelp.org.  If you or a loved one are in need of an attorney or would like to explore other resources, you can utilize if they are being abused, you can visit the Texas Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org.