Remember that everyone (including yourself) deserves a relationship that is healthy, safe and supportive. If you are in a relationship that is hurting you, it is important for you to know that the abuse is not your fault. It is time for you to start thinking of ways to keep yourself safe from the abuse.
A safety plan is a practical guide that helps lower your risk of being hurt by your partner/abuser. You can click the links below and create a personal safety plan.
Download Safety Plan for Highschool Students from love is respect.org
Download Safety Plan for College Students from LoveisRespect.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse it is important to begin documenting it.
Ways to Document Abuse:
- Keep a journal about what you’re going through. Include:
- Any incidents of abuse.
- Statements you, your partner or any witnesses made about what happened.
- The date and time of each incident.
- A description of any injuries, no matter how small. Take pictures if you can store them safely.
- A description of the scene. For example, is the furniture overturned? Are any items thrown around? Again, take pictures if you can.
- How the incident made you feel.
- Seek medical care, even if there are no visible injuries. Just because you don’t have any cuts or bruises doesn’t mean you weren’t physically harmed.
- File a report with the police.
Friends and family can play a vital role in the safety of loved one who is experiencing abuse. There are some things you want to keep in mind when supporting a victim.
- First, it is important that as part of someone’s support system you listen to them. Listen and even when you don’t understand the way they are feeling, thinking or the decisions they are making be non-judgmental. Otherwise the victim may shut down because they feel worse and feel even more isolated and alone.
- Help them reach out if they are ready by connecting them to resources available to them. There are advocates who are trained to support victims and survivors of dating violence, as well as how to help safety plan.
- Keep any information you have been told private. Never post things on social networking sites, this is a violation of the victim/survivor’s privacy, and this can make them feel even more out of control of a scary situation. Also, the biggest thing is that this could put the loved one in even more danger. Be wise and think twice before you share information on someone else’s situation.
- Give your friend or loved one a little space to make up their own mind up about this situation. Again, it is important that they start to feel they have ownership over their own life, and so it is important to ask questions instead of pushing them to do what you think is best. Also, avoid saying things that might sound belittling or blaming of them. Try and understand how scared and confused they might be, and how complicated the situation might be.
- Don’t give up helping even if it gets to be incredibly frustrating. You can learn more about helping others here.