Everyone has the right to live a life free from fear and violence, but deciding to leave an abusive relationship can be frightening. The problem of escaping your abuser, coupled with the overwhelming idea of starting again, makes it exceptionally difficult to walk away.
The first step in leaving an abusive relationship is getting away quickly and safely — your wellbeing is paramount. If you are in a crisis, call 911 immediately. If you have time to plan your move, you need to formulate an escape plan. Having an emergency plan will help you feel more prepared to leave your unhealthy relationship. Read on for some pointers from MOD24.
Here are a few must-dos:
- Create an escape bag with copies of important financial documents such as house deeds, life insurance policies, Social Security cards, birth certificates, and passports.
- Consider pets or children — always take your children with you when you leave.
- Locate an escape destination. Can friends or family offer emergency housing and a safe place where your abusive partner cannot find you? If not, DomesticShelters.org will help you. They have 24/7 hotlines and emergency housing around the country.
- Have a safeword. If it gets too much and you need to leave quickly, have a code word that alerts a confidant that you are in danger.
Finding financial independence after an abusive relationship
The Insurance Information Institute shares that 85 percent of women who leave an abusive relationship return because of economic dependence on their abusers. Obtaining independence and financial freedom is a necessary early step. Financial independence after domestic violence looks like this:
- Securing financial records
- Knowing where you stand financially
- Building a financial safety net
- Making changes to insurance policies
- Maintaining good credit
There are many resources available for victims. NCADV has a full list of organizations that exist to help keep you safe and set you up on your own again. Domestic abuse advice workers can help you by sorting out debts, applying for grants and loans, and negotiating with housing providers over rent arrears and other financial problems.
Finding a place to live
The first step is to find fixed housing while you regain your independence. New Hope For Women provides a safe place for women and can help you obtain low-income housing assistance.
Releasing capital from your former home
Do you own property with your former partner? It may be intimidating to consider selling your house and gaining access to sale funds, but you have an equal right to the money. Selling your home can be done through a lawyer who will help you manage the process.
Buying your own home
You can calculate the affordability of buying another home by looking at your down payment. This will be the money you are left with after selling your former property, plus any savings you have accrued. In addition, lenders will look at your annual income and your monthly spending to work out how much you can afford to repay monthly. Your loan type is worked out on how much you can put down as a deposit and how long you wish to pay the loan over. According to Mortgage News Daily, the current APR can be anything between 5.23% to over 6.32%. You can get started by doing some research about the Tarzana housing market online (the median sale price in the area is around $890,000).
Creating a plan for moving forward and obtaining financial independence will help you gain the strength to make difficult decisions. If you have been in an abusive relationship, it is important to remember that many victims of domestic abuse go on to have happy fulfilling lives. No one should suffer abuse regardless of race, gender, or sex — and that includes you!
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