Many who are current victims of domestic violence feel preparing an exit plan (or safety plan) is premature, since they are not ready to leave the abusive relationship. After all, he hasn’t thrown any punches yet. Let me ask you this: Why do you get a flu shot if you don’t already have the flu? To avoid the danger that could easily come without being inoculated, that’s why.
It is vitally important for victims of domestic violence to realize the cycle begins with words, or maybe a “look” that causes you to feel uncomfortable. If you begin hearing “stupid,” “ignorant,” “ugly” or “fat,” start preparing that exit plan. It is not only for your own wellbeing. If you have children, you want them safe, right? Well, a safety plan that is in place will be ready when it is needed. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
A safety plan that is activated on Monday or Tuesday could very easily avoid that typical Friday night fight. You know the one. He comes home from work after drinking, starts ranting and throwing around demands. He threatens to break your jaw or put a fist in your face. You think, “BUT, he’s just talking. He’s never hit me before.”
LISTEN: You are reading a post from someone who thought the same thing. For 16 years I heard, over and over the belittling comments and threats of “I’ll break your GD jaw,” or some comments that are worse, and not in good taste to post. Did he hit me? Yes, he did. But he only slapped me in the face a couple of times, so I thought that was excusable since I “popped off at the mouth” (A huge error on my part to even think I had no right to voice my opinion, much less such treatment was acceptable!). The threats continued. My spirit was totally broken. Not only did I fail to see the impending danger—I didn’t CARE if he swung a fist at me. Once or twice I even dared him to follow through, realizing then I’d have something to take to law enforcement and possibly have him arrested, yet scared to death at how badly it would hurt if/when he finally followed through on his threats. There were the times he’d grab my arm and swing me around, continuing to degrade me, demanding “Look me in the eye when I talk to you!”
I know what some of you are thinking. “But, it was only threats. I knew he didn’t mean it. That was just the alcohol talking.” You don’t see yourself as a victim of domestic violence. Really, I mean, REALLY? The domestic violence began with “stupid,” and escalated. Please trust me on that point.
My story? One day the alcohol collaborated with his temper, and I found myself grabbed by the hair, being swung around like a rag doll. Suddenly, in the midst of this surreal experience, my head was being rammed repeatedly into a door, as he yelled, “I’ll knock some sense into your GD head, b****!” You see, almost without exception, every victim will eventually hear and be called the “B” word.
So, why do you need an exit plan if you are not ready to leave? Because you are not ready to leave YET, that’s why. I implore you. Do not wait until there is physical violence before you begin to get your ducks in a row. History and statistics say it is coming. It’s not a matter of “if,” rather a matter of “when.” Be prepared, and remember this: A failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Life Direction & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, and bringing training to organizations seeking to help victims. Hennecy spent much time during October 2011, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with media doing radio and television interviews. See Carolyn’s interview with Gayle Guyardo of NBC Channel 8 News Today Early Morning Show and her featured segment on the ABC Action News Emmy Award winning “Taking Action Against Domestic Violence” at orangeblossomwishes.com.
- Living Next Door to Domestic Violence? (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- Domestic Violence – Monster in the Closet (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- Victims of Domestic Violence: It’s Your Life – It’s Your Choice (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- Struggling Economy Makes Attacks On Domestic Violence Victims (prweb.com)