Many years ago, I found myself in a domestic violence situation. Tired and weary, I knew it was time to get out before it was too late. Pregnant and with young children, it took several weeks to prepare but I made my plan and stuck to it. Then one evening, with just one small bag each, my children and I escaped and never looked back.
Yes, it was challenging, but it was worth every effort once we were finally free. I was nervous but relieved, and it was the most liberating experience I had in my entire life up to that point, and would prove to be the greatest decision I made (second only to giving my life back to Christ), and I thank God for helping me to find the way.
If you are in an aggressive or violent relationship of any kind, please prepare yourself (and your children) with an escape plan. There’s always a way out, and you can find it by taking even the smallest of opportunities to work toward one. Be confident in knowing that you can do this no matter the circumstance — I did, and so have numerous others before us, so you can do it too… #YesYouCan
Below you will find and escape plan to help you prepare to go. However, if a n altercation breaks out and you have to escape quickly, JUST GO. Things don’t matter as much as your life and your children’s lives do!
NOTE: If you do have the opportunity to prepare, do not give any hints whatsoever to the abuser that you are leaving – this could put you in greater danger. Try to be as calm and civil as possible in the meantime, which may help you to get out more easily and safely.
Planning and Escape:
- Make your surrounding safer by ridding your home of dangers such as guns, knives or glass.
Take every opportunity to make your surroundings safer until you’re able to leave. For example, rearrange the kitchen drawers, keeping knives away from usual silverware. If a fight breaks out, this will confuse the abuser and buy you enough time to get out. Another consideration, if you have glass items around your home, consider rearranging those as well, or even getting rid of them altogether, if possible, even if a bit at a time.
- Consider all exits such as an unlocked window or door.
Consider ways to get out of the home safely if you need to run out quickly – consider all exits such as doors, windows, or hiding places – practice escape plans with children who are old enough to follow directions safely. If possible, keep a door or window unlocked when the abuser is home with you.
- Pack LIGHT and hide easily accessible bags of clothing, documents, and also water and snacks.
Pack clothing (along with snacks and water if possible) — keep the bag(s) hidden but easily accessible if you must leave quickly. A few days’ worth of clothing should be enough as you seek out resources. Pack as light as possible, especially if you have small children because you’ll need to be able to run easily and get your children out to safety. If possible, its best to leave when the abuser has left the home first, for example, at work because they’re unlikely to leave early and catch you.
- Have birth certificates and ID’s in a safe place. Also, create copies (or email yourself copies) of other important documents, and make DUPLICATES of house keys and car keys, and phone numbers on hand.
Have originals of birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s license, etc. if possible. If not, there are agencies that can help you acquire these once you leave the abuser. Have copies of important documents such as banking information, copies of legal records, automobile and medical insurance cards, etc. Pack these in a safe place, for example, a book bag near your clothing bag. Have phone numbers saved outside of your phone in case your phone becomes lost or damaged.
- Use any available time to research, ex: lunch breaks, study times, etc. Call churches, shelters, welfare, temp agencies, etc.
Utilize any time you can get toward researching resources – take a few minutes at home alone, or while on lunch break at work, to look for agencies and shelters. If you’re unable to do this, ask someone you’re sure you can trust to gather some information for you and send it to the private email address you created, (preferably someone who doesn’t know the abuser.)
- Research resources and send it to a new, private email address that does not use your real name or usual password. Erase search history in any electronics.
Create an email address no one knows about and send yourself information as you search for resources – make sure you don’t use your real name or info within the new email account, just in case. Be sure to delete any history if your using personal phones or computers to research. Find local SHELTERS first.
- Have access to shelter information – they can assist you with additional resources as well.
There are battered women shelters, family shelters, and general homeless shelters, some churches will take in families overnight as well. Some places may fill quickly during peak seasons so have a few options ready. Friends or family may be able to help for a few days or so as well.
NOTE: Note: in desperation, hospitals, airports, and most bus stations are open all night if you need a quick place to go that has restrooms and meals or snacks. During the day libraries and other local places such as stores are also options if you need to wait for help or any other reason you might need to plant your yourself momentarily. It’ll keep you warm or cool, and could offer some assistance or protection in an emergency.
- If you have a vehicle, make sure its drivable, tires have air, fluids are topped off, etc. Store water, snacks, and blankets, if possible.
If you don’t have a vehicle consider purchasing a cheap used car, even if it only gets you to a point of safety, it’s better than none. Lift and Uber are an additional resource for a ride if you have to move quickly. Also, if needed, have a backup ride with someone you can trust, preferably who has not befriended the abuser.
- If you are employed, discreetly save some cash safely, and/or sell unused or unneeded belongings.
If you are employed try saving anything you can, even just a few dollars at a time (cash, gas card, gift card, etc.) anything to have enough for a full tank of gas for the road. Make sure your vehicle is drivable, for example: tires have enough air, oil is level, coolant, breaks and power steering fluids are near max, etc. Prepare your vehicle with small blankets, water, flashlight, jumper cables and gas can if possible, etc.
* AGAIN, I can’t stress this enough: If you have to escape quickly, JUST GO. Things don’t matter as much as your life and your children’s lives! Safety first! *
For our community resources page, please click HERE. The purpose of resources is to bring you shelter and housing, employment and financial assistance, clothing, medical assistance, transportation, daycare assistance, education services etc. Resources will help you get back on your feet quickly.
* Please know you can and will get through this. Protect yourself and children above all else. You will heal, and life will get better if you determine to commit to it to a safety plan and do not return to the abuser. My prayers are that this article will help you find safety and rebuild your life. God is our Healer and Provider – draw near to Him and He will draw near to You, God bless you ♥
Prayer: Lord, we plead Your Psalm 91 hedge of protection upon Your daughter. We pray that You will fill her with strength, reassurance, confidence and motivation to remove herself from the hands of oppression, seeking You in faith that You can and will deliver her, and bless her with victory in all her circumstances. We pray she will be filled with Your peace and comfort. We pray You would bless her with revelation and confirmations on the way You would have her go. Close the doors that need to close and open those You would have her walk through. We bind and rebuke any doubt. We bind and rebuke anything trying to come against her, in the mighty name of Jesus. No weapon formed against her shall prosper. We pray You will lead and guide her in the way to go. Open her heart to You, Father God, open her ears to Your voice and her eyes to Your Spirit. Do not allow her to take a step in any direction You have not ordained for her. Help her to know and understand that You do not desire that anyone be harmed, that anyone would perish under oppression, but that You have a hope and future planned for her good. We pray You would reveal Your blessed and perfect will over her life and provide her support as she seeks spiritual freedom in You, in love, reverence and obedience to Your loving word. We thank You in advance Father God that You hear our cries out to you and that You are faithful to answer. We give You all the honor, glory and praise. In Jesus’ mighty and precious name we pray, Amen…
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