How to Safely Leave an Abusive Marriage

Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy, but you deserve to live free of fear. The first step is realizing that you are in an abusive marriage and need help. Your abuser may beat you down physically or emotionally. You might be scared and don\’t know if you have the strength to leave. Your abuser may threaten you and tell you that no one will believe you, or that you will never be able to make it on your own. Physical abuse can be categorized as your spouse threatening you with bodily harm or following through with their threats. However, abuse isn\’t just physical. It can also be mental, verbal, and even spiritual. You have done nothing to deserve this treatment and we want to help you make it stop. 

One in four women will be in an abusive relationship. In the United States, more than three women are murdered by their partners each day. On average, a victim attempts to leave seven times before finally leaving for good. The most lethal time in an abusive relationship is after a victim leaves. More than 70% of domestic violence murders happen after the victim has gotten out. 

These statistics show how vital it is to be cautious as you prepare to escape. There are resources and organizations that can help you escape and transition safely.

“If it were not for the Crisis Center I don’t know where I would be today. They helped me realize what I needed to do, thankfully before it was too late,” a DV survivor said. “I didn’t even realize the depth of abuse, including physical, on my three children until we were completely away from him.”

This abuse evaluation form can help you recognize and understand different types of abuse and the warning signs.

Safety plan for abused women

When you are ready to leave your abuser there are steps you should take to protect yourself. 

  1. Know your abuser’s red flags. Stay alert for signs and clues that your abuser is getting upset and may explode in anger or violence.

2. Know the safe areas in your house, and where to go if your abuser attacks or an argument starts. Try to keep your phone with you to call emergency services if the situation escalates or to record what\’s happening in case you wish to press charges.

3. Determine a code word. Establish a word, phrase, or signal you can use to let your children, friends, neighbors, or co-workers know that you’re in danger and they should call the police.

Here is a “Danger Assessment” with resources. If you are afraid your computer history is being checked, use a private window and clear it when you\’re done, seek out another device, or ask someone you trust to help you. 

Make an escape plan

Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Keep the car fueled up, back your car in so you don\’t have to waste time reversing during an emergency, and keep the driver’s door unlocked. You should also hide a spare car key where you can get to it quickly. Keep emergency cash, clothing, important phone numbers, and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friend’s house, for example).

Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help to contact the police. 

Police Reports

If you’re in immediate danger, call 911. Police officers are trained to handle domestic disputes, and they’ll tell you what you need to know to take action against your abuser. If they get multiple calls from your residence, you’ll be able to build a case against your abuser. Even just going to the station to file a report helps to build a paper trail. Oftentimes, abusers will plant seeds of doubt about your character so people will be less likely to believe you. However, a documented history of abuse can help you dispute those claims.

Davis, Ermis & Roberts can help

At Davis, Ermis & Roberts, our lawyers are well-equipped and ready to fight for your safety. If you’ve decided to press charges against your abuser, we can help you build a solid case and give you the best chance at a court victory. We provide legal services 24 hours a day in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Call or visit our website to get in touch with an attorney now!