If you are physically hurt, get immediate help
GO TO A HOSPITAL, DOCTOR OR CLINIC IF YOU ARE HURT. Do not shower first or change your clothes. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. The doctor will look at you to see if you have internal injuries or broken bones and help you. The doctor also needs to see if you may be pregnant, have an STD (called sexually transmitted disease) or get proof that you were attacked. If you were raped, contact HAVEN’s START program, or go to the nearest emergency room and ask for something called a forensic exam. This is where the doctor will get proof that you were raped.
Deciding to leave or stay in a violent relationship: The Safety Plan
Get emotional support
Back to top
Maybe you are thinking about leaving the person who has been abusing you. You can’t stand it anymore. You must come up with a plan to leave if it is an emergency. Only you can decide if leaving is the right thing to do. Only you can determine the safest time to leave. Here are some ideas if you decide to leave:
IMPORTANT: It is never too late to ask for help. Even if someone sexually abused you years ago, you need to deal with your feelings if you want to get better. HAVEN can help you with your feelings.
- First, decide where you will go if you are leaving home. The place you pick should be a safe place where you can get more help.
- Get permission from a friend or family member so you can stay with him or her if it’s an emergency. You may have to ask them to lend you some money.
- Pack a suitcase and hide it in a secret place. Leave some money in the suitcase. Have an extra set of keys and clothes in the suitcase. Make copies of the following papers and have them in the suitcase. Try to bring as many of these papers as you can:
- Information about all of your bank accounts (name of the bank, account numbers, credit union information, etc.).
- If you have a safety deposit box, a copy of the key.
- A copy of your car title and a copy of your income tax returns for the past three years.
- If you own a house, a copy of the deed (title).
- If you have any loans, copy all of that paperwork.
- If you have any credit cards with your abuser, copy the information from those. You will want to take your name off of these credit cards too.
- If you are working, copy your pay stubs for the last two months.
- If you have a bank account with your abuser, copy the signature cards from the bank.
- If you have a PPO (Personal Protection Order) from the court, make sure you have a copy of that.
- If you have an insurance policy, trust fund or pension, copy that.
- Try to get this information: the abuser’s Social Security number, driver’s license number, license plate number, work address and phone number plus the addresses and phone numbers of good friends.
- If you have a lawyer, listen to what your lawyer says. If you don’t have a lawyer, make sure that if you leave your husband, wife or partner, you take all of your personal things with you (money, investments, bank accounts, etc.) and half of your “joint” accounts (bonds, checking accounts, credit cards, etc.).
- Open a savings account. Use just your name. This will help you become more independent.
- Memorize the Crisis and Support Line phone number. Keep it with you, but hidden. Make sure you know how to contact the Crisis and Support Line in an emergency.
- If you feel that your computer at home isn’t safe and someone is watching you, use the computer at the library or at a friend’s house.
- If you are thinking about leaving the person who is abusing you, make sure you have a good plan — a Safety Plan. Read it over and over so you know what to do in a true emergency.
Back to top
HAVEN has a 24-hour emergency shelter for people who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault. Learn more about the shelter.
Back to top
Even after you have asked for help, it may be difficult for you. You may need medical help. You may be leaving someone you have lived with for a long time. You may feel angry, embarrassed or really afraid. You may think that being deaf might make it more difficult. But help is available. With your permission HAVEN can work with DeafCan and Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services to provide Deaf friendly support. Learn more about the talking to someone.
Back to top