Despite what many people with no experience in the subject believe, it is rarely easy to leave an abusive marriage. In fact, escaping domestic violence can be one of the most dangerous times for California residents. When an abuse victim is attempting to break free, it is possible that even non-violent abusers can become more dangerous. You and other abuse victims should understand how to make an escape plan before attempting to leave.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline points out that having a plan to get away from your abuser is a necessary first step in leaving as safely as possible. You will need to plan several steps to break free, which may include the following:
- Save a stash of emergency cash that your abuser does not know about, preferably in a secure place out of the home.
- Memorize the addresses and phone numbers of abuse shelters, police stations and hotlines and figure out a safe place to go.
- Gather evidence that you are being abused, including photographs of injuries and screenshots of threatening text messages.
- Get together some clothing, household items, important documents and other belongings you plan to take with you.
- Tell someone you trust that you are being abused and ask for their help and support.
When you feel ready to leave, the final step is to seek an emergency order of protection from the court, which will give you legal protections to prevent your abuser from contacting or going near you. With assistance from allies and experienced counsel, you should not have to be alone in gaining freedom from abuse.