According to an estimate by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20 Americans are subject to physical abuse by their partners every minute. A survey by Mental Help Net of people who suffered from abusive relationships showed that 55 percent of them entered into such relationships when they were just 17-24 years of age. If you too are suffering from partner abuse or know someone who is going through such a scenario, terminating and escaping from the relationship should be a priority.
Recognizing an abusive relationship
To quit an abusive relationship, a person must first recognize it. This is easier said than done, especially in the case of psychological abuse. “Many will dismiss or downplay emotional abuse because they don’t think it’s as bad as physical abuse. It’s hard for those in abusive relationships to leave their partners after they’ve continuously been made to feel worthless and like there’s no better option for themselves,” according to One Love.
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If you are in an abusive relationship where the partner constantly puts you down, recognize that you don’t deserve it. The dependence you feel for the abuser is a burden that will choke you all through your life. If you are planning to have children, consider whether you really want to have kids with such a person who might end up abusing them as well. When you realize that you are being abused, it is time to start documenting it.
You may want your partner to stay away from you and your children after separation. This can be done by acquiring a restraining order from the court. To do so, you may have to provide proof of abuse. So make sure you collect such documentation before leaving the home. Keep it in a safe location where your partner won’t have access to it.
“Documentation can be as simple as a series of journal entries describing and dating each instance of abuse. Going farther, audio and video recordings provide even more concrete evidence. If you’ve been physically abused in a way that causes bruising, cuts, or other visible manifestations, take photographs and seek medical attention — the medical records will be another form of documentation,” according to Belief Net.
Emergency supplies and funds
Prepare an emergency bag and store all the necessary clothes, toiletries, copies of important documents, security cards, etc., in it. This will allow you to immediately leave the home should a critical situation develop. Store enough money to last you for a week or two independently. If you think that keeping the bag at home is risky, leave it with a trusted neighbor.
You must ensure that your data privacy is well protected before you leave your abusive relationship. “In case your abuser knows how to access your accounts, create new usernames and passwords for your email, IM, online banking, and other sensitive accounts. Even if you don’t think your abuser has your passwords, he may have guessed or used spyware or a key-logging program to get them. Choose passwords that your abuser can’t guess,” according to Help Guide.
Inform close friends and relatives
Keep your close friends and relatives informed on when you plan on leaving your partner and the abusive relationship. You will have to rely on them for a few weeks or months after escaping from the relationship. If your partner cuts off your communication with them, your friends and relatives are likely to alert the police since they already know that the situation in your home is tense.