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How can I escape an abusive marriage?

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Domestic violence affects countless families in Illinois and across the country. Nobody deserves to live in constant fear for their safety, or the safety of their children and pets, in their own home. However, as you may know, leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult. Successfully escaping abuse requires careful planning, as well as assistance from trusted allies.

You may be aware that abusers use manipulation and fear tactics to keep their victims under their control. Regardless of whether your spouse has ever physically harmed you, you may feel threatened and unsafe at the thought of leaving. The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests victims create an escape plan before leaving, such as the following:

  • Set aside emergency cash in a place your abuser does not know about, preferably outside the home.
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend about the abuse and ask for their support and assistance.
  • Learn the addresses and phone numbers of nearby domestic violence shelters.
  • Gather items you plan to take with you, such as clothing, important paperwork and personal belongings, and put them in a safe place.
  • Document physical evidence of injuries and keep screenshots of abusive text messages.

A protective order is a vital element of leaving an abusive relationship. You will need to seek a protective order from the court when you are ready to leave. Law enforcement or a domestic violence coordinator can help you with this step. The preparations you make and the allies you surround yourself with can help you and your children make a fresh start. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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