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For many domestic abuse survivors, the idea of moving brings on fear, stress, and anxiety. You may be worrying about what the future holds or fearful of your abuser’s reaction to you leaving. Financial issues are almost always a concern, especially if you have children, yet making the decision to leave the situation can help empower you and get you to a healthy place.
Once you’ve decided to move, it’s imperative that you make a solid plan for the entire process, especially if you have children who will need your guidance. Think about a budget, hiring movers, and letting a close friend or family member know about your plans so you’ll have support and help if you need it. Talk to your children about exactly what will happen, and create a plan to get away safely if you feel that’s necessary. Keep in mind that phone records and computer use can be monitored, which can make some preparations tricky. Looking at the details will ensure that you and your children can leave safely and start your new lives.
Keep reading for the best tips on how to make a moving day go smoothly, brought to you by Trial Lawyer Tahira Khan Merritt.
It’s important to seek support before you begin making preparations for the move. This can be from a friend, a therapist, or a women’s shelter; whichever you feel most comfortable with. Because leaving is such a sensitive subject, you’ll want to keep the information close to the vest for the time being, so only disclose what you absolutely have to.
Come Up with an Escape Plan
If you are in a living situation with an abuser who can become violent at a moment’s notice, it’s imperative that you create an escape plan that will allow you to leave as quickly and safely as possible. Keep gas in the car and your keys handy at all times. Make sure your phone stays charged and is on you — and keep a portable charger with you in case you need to charge your device in the car or at a hotel. You may even want to pack small bags for you and the children and hide them in the car in case you need to leave quickly.
Contact a Support Program
It’s essential to have resources that will help you get through this difficult time, especially if you are forced to leave quickly and have nowhere to go in the short term. Look online for support programs for domestic abuse survivors in your area; many of these include shelters that may be able to help out at a moment’s notice.
Find the Right Place to Go
Finding the right place to live is imperative not only for your safety but for your peace of mind. The ideal home is not isolated, but situated around other homes, and will be within your budget; you don’t want to move only to realize you can’t afford to stay there. You can research local prices for rentals in the DFW area to find something that fits your budget and size needs. If you’re able, look for a place that’s farther away from your abuser.
While amenities will be great, it’s most important to choose an apartment in the center of the building so that there are limited entrances and exits, and look for one above the ground floor. Get to know the neighbors and find out who to expect to come around: delivery people, the mailman, the landlord. Doing some research will help quite a bit when it comes to feeling safe.
Moving after living in an abusive situation is always hard, so it’s important to have a good plan and the support of people who care about you. Remember that the abuse is not your fault, and that even if your abuser is in counseling, that’s no guarantee that he or she will change. Once you come up with a plan, go over it with your children so that everyone is on the same page and so that leaving will go as smoothly as possible.
This article was provided by guest blogger Ed Carter, creator of the website AbleFutures, which provides financial information for those living with disabilities.