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Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy. Choosing to leave a toxic situation can be one of the most emotionally challenging (not to mention dangerous) decisions you’ll make. However, trauma also acts as a catalyst for creating a validating and healing safe space for ourselves.
A big part of that is finding the perfect space we can call ours uniquely. But for domestic violence survivors, getting to that space can be accompanied by intense anxiety and fear.
Photo Find Missing Children’s Center will walk you through getting out of your situation quickly and safely and preparing for the long-awaited move.
Depart Safely and Quickly
Getting away is the most challenging step. According to OneLove, abusers make it nearly impossible for their victims to take concrete action towards freedom. Simple tasks such as finding transportation, setting up a bank account, and getting a cell phone are rendered difficult when you’re near your abuser.
Leaving your situation will require planning and strategizing, but it can be done. Keep the following in mind when you’re planning your move.
Prepare an Emergency Bag
Keep a bag primed and ready with all the essentials you’ll need. According to the University of Michigan Health, medication, essential documents, snacks, and clothes are some items you should include. You’ll need a prepaid phone so that your abuser can’t track you or reach you, as well as a charger for that phone.
Include some cash within the bag so you’re prepared for any situation that may arise. If you’re worried about the abuser finding your money stash, find someone you trust to store the cash for you or open a bank account with a different financial institution.
Plan Your Escape
Have everything in place to maximize your chance of a successful escape. Begin by building a network of trusted friends, support groups, and professionals. Decide where you’re going to go when you move, and set up a code or signal with your network. If you feel the plan is failing in any way or that you might be at significant risk, talk to local law enforcement to see how you can safely leave your abusive situation.
Prepare For the Move
You’ve planned, strategized, and even escaped your abuser’s proximity. However, the work doesn’t stop there. You will also have to move out of the home you shared with your abuser and shift your belongings to your new place.
You will need to find a safe place to live, preferably far away from your abuser. Do a quick search on what kind of home falls within your budget by comparing your annual income and spending to the average rental price in a particular neighborhood. When looking for apartments in Austin and the surrounding area, filter for apartment complexes with heightened security measures such as buildings that require a key to enter, those with a guard always on duty, security cameras, etc. so your family feels safe and secure in your new home. Also, make sure to do your search in a private tab or secure phone to avoid getting caught.
Moving Your Belongings
Before the move, get a Domestic Violence Protective Order to minimize the chances of your abuser finding you again. Safe at Home is another program that will keep your new address confidential. When it comes to moving your belongings, choose a moving company with domestic violence policies in check. This ensures that movers have undergone criminal checks and that all precautions are taken to protect your privacy. Moving companies will organize and shift your belongings without your abuser finding out any details of your whereabouts.
Moving is challenging in itself but comes with its own unique set of hurdles when you’re a domestic abuse survivor. However, you deserve to live a life of peace, safety, and freedom in your own home, and moving out of your toxic situation is the best way to achieve that.
Remember to keep your wits about you and retain your strength and courage during this time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to resources and helplines if the need arises.