Living with an abusive partner can be hard, especially if you’re trying to get help. Remember that the abuse your partner commits is never your fault — whether you’ve agreed to live together or not. Sharing a home may bring up different emotions, especially when thinking about whether to stay or leave. Breaking up and then deciding where to live is difficult, and it’s a decision only you can make. At loveisrespect we want you to be safe, no matter what you choose to do. If you’re not ready to leave or cannot leave safely, here are some steps to help you stay safe.
- Record abusive incidents with as much detail as possible. Write down dates, times and the sequence of events that took place. If possible, take pictures to document any injuries. It’s best to keep this record outside your shared home.
- If you sense an abusive incident is about to occur, avoid confined rooms without exits or areas where potentially dangerous objects are stored, like the kitchen.
- Tell a person you trust — a neighbor, a friend or a co-worker — what is happening. They can help you build a support system outside of your home.
- Create a safety plan. Then, give a copy of it and your schedule to a friend, relative or person you trust so they know where you are, when you’re likely to be alone with your abusive partner and what they can do if you need help.
- Create a code word to tell whoever you’re with that you need help without your abusive partner knowing. Make sure the people in your support system know the code word and what to do if you’re in trouble, like calling the police.
- Memorize or keep a list of phone numbers in your wallet, backpack or purse in case you don’t have access to your cell phone.
- Keep a calling card and extra money in an “emergency wallet” that you always have with you and that your partner doesn’t know about.
- Know your rights.
- Learn about local resources and ask for help if you need it.