Six Tips for Leaving an Abusive Relationship
Please note : In honor of remembering those we've lost, and honoring those who've survived abuse, this post was written with heart. Although this piece is not perfect, we are sharing this as a tool for anyone out there looking for help and advice from others who've successfully personally escaped an abuser or who've personally helped a loved one flee from abuse. We love you and we're here for you.
Hayley’s view of domestic violence was changed when it was revealed that her close relative was a victim of abuse. Her story proved to Hayley that domestic violence can happen to anyone.
Upon research, Hayley learned that underwear is an urgent need among domestic violence shelters. It's the only item that can’t be donated used, so people rarely think to buy it new and donate it. When MADI Apparel donates this urgent need for every item sold, it adds dignity and empowerment to a traumatic situation and helps relieve a financial burden for shelters.
Leaving an abuser isn’t like your typical breakup. It can be a dangerous journey that should be dealt with carefully. If you or a loved one is ready to leave an abusive partner, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
Below are a few tips to help you safely leave an abusive relationship. We've gathered these tips through a combination of personal experience, the experience of loved ones, and research provided by financial advisors and trusted domestic violence organizations that serve and empower survivors.
In honor of remembering those we've lost, and honoring those who've survived abuse, this post was written with heart. Although this piece is not perfect, we are sharing this as a tool for anyone out there looking for help and advice from others who've successfully personally escaped an abuser or who've personally helped a loved one flee from abuse. We love you and we're here for you.
1. Check Financials99% of domestic abuse victims experience some form of financial abuse. Obtain a copy of your credit report to understand your financial standing. Having debt and a low credit score can make it difficult for survivors to begin their fresh start. Things like buying a home have a minimum credit score requirement that can be tough to meet after experiencing abuse. Poor financial health is a big reason victims return to their abusers. Use your credit report to figure out how much debt you are in. If possible, start paying off your debts to help boost your credit score. If you are in a joint account or are a co-signer, contact your lender and get your name discretely taken off. Your debt will not change, but it will prevent you from obtaining any more. If your abuser has opened up accounts in your name, make copies of any financial documents so you can later dispute or correct them.
2. Stash Cash
Money is a huge obstacle in an abusive relationship. Start saving as soon as you can. Credit cards can be tracked and controlled by your abuser, so the best thing to do is to gather and hide away cash. Any amount will help you once you leave. Try to find a job that pays in cash or has cash tips. If you’re not able to get a job, consider selling items your abuser won’t know are missing, asking a trusted friend or family member, or getting cash back from your debit card. If you are nervous about hiding a lot of cash, then use that money to buy a prepaid or VISA gift card. Having a singular card may be easier to hide and transport.
3. Copy Important Documents
Along with financial reports, it’s important to make copies and gather any personal documents. Things like Identification documents, bank information, citizenship cards, etc. should all be copied and hidden away. When you leave it can be extremely difficult to get access to these documents, which is why you should make copies or take photos of any paperwork that has financial or private information. If you are a victim of physical abuse, try to take pictures of bruises, scars, or wounds to use as evidence if needed. It’s best to make copies of all documents rather than hide the original. This way your abuser will not suspect anything. Just make sure you store these copies somewhere or with someone safe.
4. Contact People You Trust
Many abusers use isolation as a control tactic, because of this it may feel hard to reach out to loved ones. But know there are people in your life who still love and miss you. Try to reach out to people you trust, even if it has been a long time. Vulnerability is power. Let them know your situation and seek out any assistance you can. You don’t have to go through this alone. Find the people that’ll help you whether it be a friend, family member, therapist, lawyer, or a Domestic Violence Organization.
5. Make An Exit Plan
After doing the prior steps it’s time to come up with an exit plan. Always have two prepared. One for when you are ready and prepared to leave safely, and one if you have to leave more urgently than expected. Make sure your cash, documents, and any personal belongings are packed and stored somewhere safe and easily accessible to you. Observe your abuser’s pattern and figure out a window of time in which you can safely leave the home. Have a mode of transportation set in place whether it be a car, a friend, or public transportation, know exactly how you’re going to leave. Lastly, figure out where you’re going to go. This place should be a safe environment, one that you don’t expect your abuser to find. It doesn’t have to be a permanent spot, but a place you can come to when you are ready to leave. Consider staying with a loved one or finding a shelter near you. If you have the resources, you can look for your own housing. However, it’s good to have a support system close by regardless of where you chose to stay.
6. Delete Your Digital Footprint Seek
Deleting your digital footprint should be done moments before you leave, as your abuser could suspect what’s going on. Wipe your search history, delete any saved information, change your passwords, delete or cancel accounts, and turn off any location sharing you have with your abuser or people they know. If able, consider ditching your phone and getting a new one that is not connected to your abuser. Try to memorize important phone numbers, so you can contact a trusted source in case of emergency.
How You/We Can Help
MADI stands for Make a Difference. Although Domestic Violence Awareness Month has come to an end, it’s important to still spread awareness on this topic. Abuse can be hard for some to talk about, but by sharing our stories and spreading awareness we can make a difference.
As we approach the holiday season it’s important to check on our loved ones and reflect on our own relationships. Here at MADI Apparel, we’re dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence. By purchasing from our brand, we’re able to give back to domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, rape clinics, and disaster relief situations, who need these products the most.
For every item you purchase from us in November, December and January, we'll donate a pair of underwear to our quarterly domestic violence organization partners. Our current quarterly partners are: Newhouse - Kansas City's oldest domestic violence shelter, Safe Harbor in Greenville South Carolina, and Marjaree Mason Center in Fresno.