October is domestic violence awareness month and while we are in the midst of spooky season, I wanted to let you all know about an organization that I’ve been working with.
Where I volunteer @laurashouseoc calls are up 65% that is about 100 calls a week. Even one call is too many but during our Covid stay at home stay safe, staying safe doesn’t mean the same thing if you are in a domestic violence situation.
I want you to know there are places to go and places to call. Being a survivor myself, I understand that it’s not easy, but it can be accomplished safely. Calling a domestic violence hotline, as I did, helped so much. The trained counselor you will speak to will tell you how to stay safe and make that first move. Remember, most people in this situation attempt to leave about 7 times. Don’t give up, the more you open up the stronger you will become. For me, that first call made up my mind. But for me it took 8 years to actually leave. There were no attempts to leave because I was too afraid for me and my children. I started my plan that day when I made the first call.
Here is a list of ways to keep safe if you are in immediate danger or during the process of leaving. I hope to help by sharing some tips during this very trying time for all of us. I did a number of these things and they really helped me.
Find a place you can retreat to safely (avoid the bathroom or kitchen):
- Enlist support from a trusted friend or family member you can call.
- If necessary, use a code word or phrase to indicate you need help.
- Memorize phone numbers of people and agencies you might need to call in an emergency.
Make sure you can easily access:
- identification (Social Security card and driver’s license).
- birth and marriage certificates.
- credit cards, safe deposit box keys and bank information.
- health insurance information.
- any documentation, photos, medical or police reports relating to previous episodes of abuse.
I knew the moment my youngest was away at college, that would be my time. That is what I did. It wasn’t easy and I ended up in the hospital from a panic attack, but I didn’t give up. During the hospital stay, I had an amazing nurse who saw what was happening, who helped me reached out to my cousin and then things got easier. I finally divorced after 7 years of trying.
With Covid, not only is leaving more difficult, the uncertainty of places not being open or being full due to restrictions in place for everyone’s safety.
Please don’t let Covid stand in your way of getting help, advice, or just reaching out. It takes courage to leave an unhealthy relationship, there are so many reasons why we stay. Please remember, you are not alone and there is someone who cares and understands.