Elizabeth Stone Houses’ Ruth Rollins Tells DomesticShelters.org How People in Abusive Relationships Can Ask For Help

First, know that you can call a domestic violence crisis hotline just to talk (just make sure you’re calling from a safe place when the abuser is not present on a phone that he will not be able to track the call history of, such as a friend’s home, your workplace, a doctor’s office or a payphone).

You don’t have to give any personal information, you don’t have to be seeking emergency shelter and you don’t even have to be ready to leave yet. You can simply call a hotline and say, “I think I’m being abused. What should I do?” The advocate on the other end of the line will help walk you through what you’re experiencing and give you information about what different abuse tactics look like. This small step could very well save your life.

Long-time domestic violence advocate Ruth Rollins, community outreach coordinator for the Elizabeth Stone House in Boston, says she hears from a lot of survivors who feel like something is wrong, but don’t classify it as abuse because they’re not being physically hurt.

“My goal is to educate them on other types of abuse—emotional, financial, etcetera—and educate them as much as possible about the power and control wheel,” she says, referring to the cycle of violence that often continues indefinitely.

Even though, says Rollins, “a good day for me is when a client says ‘I’m ready to go,’” she supports survivors even when they aren’t yet ready to separate from their abusive partner.

“We have a saying here: We meet women where they’re at. We don’t have them choose—if they want to continue being with their abuser, they can,” she explains.

You may not be ready to leave your abuser yet, Anon. There are many barriers that could be standing in your way. But when you are ready to go, it’s important to talk to an advocate about safety planning and orders of protection, for your safety and the safety of anyone else who may be involved, like kids or pets.

Read more: https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/ask-amanda-how-do-i-ask-for-help?platform=hootsuite