To stay or go?
When you have faced abuse and violence in a relationship, you may be in a situation where you are not sure if you want to stay or to leave. It is not an easy task to make that decision – especially when you have several emotional reactions to what is happening to you, as well as physical and psychological pain to carry as a result of it. The confusion is perfectly normal and understandable. Avoid judging yourself and giving yourself harshness for having clarity. If you find yourself in this situation, a few things you can do are as follows:
Keep a trusted friend or relative informed of what is going on. It is important that this trusted individual is someone who listens to you without judgment and is there to support you when you need it. It is important that you let them know that you have chosen to stay, and to let them know of what is going on.
Make a list of all the options you have for an emergency situation. This involves mapping trusted friends and allies, their contact information, organizations you can reach out to for help, lawyers and medical support as well. Make note of all your available options, your escape routes and all those you can count on for support.
It might help you evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of leaving and staying. It might also help you understand what kind of support you have if you leave – for some survivors, that might be a tipping point in making a decision to leave or stay. It is a good idea not to be impulsive and to take stock of all that you can count on when you make the decision to leave.
Keep an emergency bag ready – this is for any untoward or emergency situation that you find yourself in. To know what an emergency bag should contain, please refer to the section titled “Building an Emergency Kit.”
Record evidence of any abuse that you face. It is important that you document instances and save records of evidence of those instances for any time in the future that you decide to leave or seek to press charges.
Learn some form of self-defense to protect yourself against any harm or any threats. It is also a good way for you to gain confidence and emotional strength.
Learn up your escape routes and safe routes to get out of any space within your house that you may be confined within. It is a good idea to create ventilated spaces that are not confining or in any way capable of being manipulated into trapping you.
Regardless of the decision you make, it is important to understand that you are the one in charge, and you have complete freedom to make a decision – one way or the other.