Deciding to separate is never easy, even in a relationship marked by conjugal violence. Separation is a big source of anxiety for abused women. They may feel very worried about their safety and future.
Challenges Involved in Leaving a Partner
There are many reasons that make the decision to leave difficult for a woman who is a victim of conjugal violence:
- She doesn’t want to break up her family.
- She’s afraid of violence post-separation.
- She doesn’t want to deprive her children of their father.
- Her partner threatens to kill her or to take her children.
- Her parents don’t want her to leave her partner.
- Divorce is frowned upon in her community.
- She’s afraid to lose custody of her children.
- She has nowhere else to go.
Preparing Your Exit
Before announcing that you are separating and leaving your home, it is important to take the time to prepare to ensure your safety and facilitate future procedures.
You can plan your exit and establish protective measures, either alone or with the help of someone in your circle of friends and family or a victim advocate.
The decision to leave and the way and time to do it should be up to the woman concerned.
Announcing the Separation
When you leave, your priority should be to protect yourself from a possible reaction from your partner. Thus, the most important thing to remember is to not make this announcement until you are about to leave.
The time and place of your exit should not be left to chance. It is recommended to choose a public place, at the home of a friend or family member, or to have someone accompany you. You can also tell him that you are leaving through a phone call or message.
In addition, we advise women who leave their home to turn off the GPS location feature of their electronic devices to keep their new address and movements private.
After the Separation
Conjugal violence can continue in many ways after a separation. Here are some things you can do to try to avoid it:
- Change certain habits and the places you frequently visit.
- When out and about, choose busy streets and locations.
- Always have your cell phone with you.
- Keep your new address secret, if possible.
Women who have to go back to their old home can also ask the police to accompany them to ensure their safety.