It is easy to fool yourself and tell yourself that he is probably “all hot air” and not really dangerous. Maintaining a focus on your safety can be uncomfortable and difficult when you are confused, exhausted, have many decisions to make and many daily responsibilities. Be aware that when a person is leaving an abusive relationship, it becomes much more dangerous for everyone involved, especially the abused partner, but also sometimes the children, the family and friends of the abused person.
If you'd like a free personalized on-line assessment of that will tell you how dangerous your partner is to you (compared to a data base of thousands of abusers), go to mosaicmethod.com. This assessment is excellent and confidential, but will take some time since there are 50 questions. You must be very honest when you answer each question. You can print out the resulting report for your use. Show it to anyone who is helping you, and anyone who does not understand that you could be in danger. This could include the police, your attorney or the domestic violence advocate who is helping you.
If I am danger, what should I do?
The first thing you will need is a personalized step-by-step safety plan, which the national hotline (or better yet, a local DV advocate) can help you develop. To learn more about safety plans and see sample safety plans go to http://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/ There are sample safety plans for many different situations – for when a person is living with their abuser, when planning to leave an abuser, after leaving an abuser, etc. Also there are safety plans for the children so you can teach them what to do when and if violence erupts. Your safety plan(s) will need to be updated when any major changes occur in your relationship status, when you move, if you begin to be stalked, etc.
It’s important o be aware that home phones and cell phones can be programed easily by an abusive partner who can then listen to your phone conversations, hear conversations in any room where the phone is, record your conversations, read your texts, see all the websites you visit, monitor your e-mail messages and learn your whereabouts using GPS. If you are not sure that your house, your home phone, your cell phone and your vehicle are not bugged, then proceed cautiously. Do not talk about the abuse, your partner, your plans for leaving the relationship, or anything else that is confidential while you are inside your home or inside your vehicle, or when using your cell phone. Many people who have left an abusive relationship or are planning to leave, buy a second inexpensive pay-as-you-go cell phone to use for all private conversations. These are available at Target and Wal-Mart. There is no monthly plan, and you do not need to give anyone your name. (If you decide to purchase a safe phone, you might want to keep your original cell phone, too, so your abuser will not become suspicious. It can be kept plugged in and stored in another location. That way, your abuser will not know you have changed phones, cannot track or spy on you with it, but he can still leave messages. Any threats, stalking behaviors or contact he makes that violates a protective order will be recorded and can be proven if you ever need it. It is vital that you keep a record of all abuse incidents, with date and time, photographs of injuries, E.R. or doctor’s reports, etc., in a safe place in case you might ever need them.
If you believe you are being stalked (followed or tracked) please go to these websites for information and suggestions:
I highly recommend reading these excellent books, available on Amazon.com, libraries and bookstores.
- When Love Goes Wrong, by Ann Jones
- Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft.
- Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That? Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft.