SAPA is here to help: 989-774-2255 24/7
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If you are being hurt:
WARNING! Violence can get worse when you try to leave or show signs of independence. Your assailant may become desperate if he or she feels a loss of control over you. Take special care.
Call the Police:
Write down the emergency number for the police. It's usually 911. If you don't have a telephone, arrange a signal with neighbors so that they can call the police. If you are scared to do that in front of your assailant, think about talking to one of the officers alone.
Get Support from Friends & Family:
Tell your family, friends and co-workers what has happened. Don't try to protect him. Ask for what you need.
Move Out; Move Away:
It's not fair. You should not have to leave your home because of his behavior. But sometimes the only way you will be safe is to leave. SAPA has resources to assist survivors needing help relocate.
There are shelters throughout the country that can help you relocate:
Help outside the Central Michigan University Community
Make a Safety Plan:
Figure out what to do before or when the next attack happens (See "Safety Planning" below)
Keep Your Own Records of the Abuse:
Keep a journal or log of all incidents of physical violence, threats, harassing phone calls, unwanted contacts, missed parenting time, etc. You may also want to include promises your assailant made about getting help or changing his behavior.
Take pictures of any bruises or injuries you have. Take pictures or videotapes of any damage done to your home or property. Make sure you write the date of the incident and a description of what it is on any pictures. If you are taking pictures of bruises on a specific part of your body, take two pictures. First, a close up that shows the bruise, and a second picture further away which shows your face and that part of the body. That way you can prove the bruise was made on you. When taking pictures of a hole in the wall, put something next to the hole to show how big it is. Keep copies of any email your abuser sends to you. Record or make copies of any messages on answering machines or voice mail. Write down the name, address, and phone number of any witnesses to his violence.
Get Medical Help:
If you have been injured, go to the emergency room, urgent care unit, or see your doctor. Medical records may be important evidence in criminal or civil court cases. Medical records may also help you get a personal protection order. Give all the information you feel safe to give. Medical records are supposed to be confidential and are not supposed to be given out to anyone but you.
Safety Planning When You're Still Living With Your Assailant-Or When You Are Leaving:
Here are some things to consider when you suspect your partner is about to assault you again.
- Try to figure out the "warning signs" that come before an assault (drinking, taking drugs, pay day, a bill collector, a bad day at work). Are there physical signs that he or she is going to hit you (clenched fists, threats, heavy breathing, a flushed face, destruction of property, etc.)?
- Try to get out or get help before the assault.
- Are there any weapons in the house? Where? Can you remove the weapons? The ammunition? Lock them up?
- When an assault occurs, try to move to a room or area that has access to an exit. Avoid a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Can you figure out a signal for the neighbors to call the police? Can you teach your child(ren) to call the police? Or can you go to a neighbor and call?
- Can you and your children memorize telephone numbers to call for safety?
- Can you hide a cell phone if your assailant destroys the phone in your house? (You may be qualified for a special cell phone from Women's Aid Services inc, SAPA that calls 911.)
Think Ahead & Prepare for Situations Where You May Need to Leave in a Hurry:
- How will you get out of the house? Some women take out the garbage, walk the dog, get the newspaper, or offer to go get him cigarettes. Set up a routine where it's normal for you to leave for a short period of time.
- Where will you go when you get out of the house? Where is the nearest telephone?
- Try to collect and hide money.
- Put important documents in one place where they can be easily grabbed.
- If possible, leave copies of documents, spare clothes, spare keys to the car and the house, and money with a neighbor or trusted friend.
- Think about taking money from any of your bank accounts. This is not stealing. You can always give it back. Our experience is that if you don't take it, your assailant will take it all.
- Reach out for help. Enlist your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and professionals in your safety planning.
What to Take with You:
Your life and your safety are most important. Trying to bring your children is important. Everything else is secondary. If you can do it, here is a list of things you should take with you. (If you're worried about taking something of his, remember, you can always give it back.)
Safety in the Workplace:
- Identification. Driver's license, birth certificate for you and the kids, voter registration card, credit cards, work identification, unemployment card, green card, passport, baptismal certificate, marriage license, adoption records.
- Social security numbers for you, your partner, & your children. Bring your own & your children's cards if available.
- Medical records. Health insurance information.
- Keys to the car and to the apartment or house.
- Any welfare records.
- Financial information such as bankbooks, checkbooks, savings records, stocks, insurance, pensions, etc.
- Prescription drugs. Copies of prescriptions for you and the children.
- Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses for you and the children.
- Photos, diaries, address books, and other personal property that cannot be replaced.
- Automobile. (If the car is in your name, take it. If it's in both your names, take it. If it's in their name, they have another car, and you're married, take the car.)
- Clothes and toys are the last priority. They are replaced most easily. When your assailant finds that you are gone, he will probably destroy things that are important to you. If you can, take things that are not replaceable, things with significant sentimental value. Assailants usually take any money that is in a joint account, & if they have access to your credit cards they will use them. If you think your assailant knows your credit card numbers, you might want to change them.
- Inform your boss, co-workers, and any security of the situation. Provide them with a picture of the assailant, and a copy of the personal protection order.
- Ask that your calls be screened or sent directly to voice mail.
- Ask that your office be locked or make sure that the front desk does not let your assailant in to the office.
- Ask that your current home address or phone number not be given out.
- Carpool to work with someone, or ask security to walk you to and from your car each day.
- Ask if you can vary your work schedule.
- Suggest to your boss that someone from SAPA come and consult with them and/or do a talk for employees about domestic violence. This may help them take your situation more seriously.