“Imagine you are an Ohio woman with three children who is living in a dangerously violent household. You don’t have a job. You don’t have family living close. What are your options?”
Personally, this is a really hard scenario for me to imagine, but sadly it is a reality for far too many people.
If I were in this situation, I think it would be really hard to leave because I would be worried about the safety of myself and more importantly my children, as there is a great risk of he violence following us. However, I think that the most important step we could take would be to get as far away as possible and as quickly as possible, because if we stayed there would be no chance of getting away from the violence. As soon as I realized that the household was violent, I would begin planning to leave. I would pack up necessities, but not make it obvious so we could make a quick and unnoticed getaway. One day when the man is out, preferably when I know it will be a while before he comes back, I will pack up the kids and get as far away as possible.
So what are your options? First, you have to decide how you want to break away from the violence, and for me I would choose to leave the situation entirely behind. Next, where would you go from there? You could take legal action, find a job, try to make your way back to family, or find a women’s shelter.
I think the first thing I would do after I have left would be to contact my family, parents, siblings, or close relatives that might be able to help, and make them aware of the situation. Since I don’t have a job, the next step would be quite difficult. I can’t just carry on my life with my children as normal because we wouldn’t have an income or a designated ‘home’. Ultimately this time would be very difficulty. We would be starting over with basically nothing, but there is no way I should be in a violent relationship and not a chance that I want my children to be stuck in that situation. So I would start looking for jobs, anything I could do to make our lives as comfortable as possible. I think it would be very important for me to have some support, I would talk to family regularly and possible even get some counseling to help deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with this trauma. It is fairly easy to get some form of counseling, but finding one that fits well with your family is the bigger challenge. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a great place to get started.
This situation is extremely difficult, but it is extremely important to get away from the violence, it should not be tolerated at all. Money should not keep you in a violent relationship, but as always it is a factor, so you should try to plan ahead by saving money whenever you can and finding a job.
Above all, it is important to not put up with domestic violence. When in doubt ask someone you really trust for help, you will be surprised how willing people are to help.
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