Create a safety plan

Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. Consider taking these precautions:

  • Call a domestic violence hotline for advice. Make the call at a safe time — when the abuser isn't around — or from a friend's house or other safe location.
  • Pack an emergency bag that includes items you'll need when you leave, such as extra clothes and keys. Leave the bag in a safe place. Keep important personal papers, money and prescription medications handy so that you can take them with you on short notice.
  • Know exactly where you'll go and how you'll get there.

Protect your communication and location

An abuser can use technology to monitor your telephone and online communication and to track your physical location. If you're concerned for your safety, seek help. To maintain your privacy:

  • Use phones cautiously. Your abuser might intercept calls and listen to your conversations. He or she might use caller ID, check your cellphone or search your phone billing records to see your complete call and texting history.
  • Use your home computer cautiously. Your abuser might use spyware to monitor your emails and the websites you visit. Consider using a computer at work, at the library or at a friend's house to seek help.
  • Remove GPS devices from your vehicle. Your abuser might use a GPS device to pinpoint your location.
  • Frequently change your email password. Choose passwords that would be impossible for your abuser to guess.
  • Clear your viewing history. Follow your browser's instructions to clear any record of websites or graphics you've viewed.

Where to seek help

In an emergency, call 911 — or your local emergency number or law enforcement agency. The following resources also can help:

  • Someone you trust. Turn to a friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker, or religious or spiritual adviser for support.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233). The hotline provides crisis intervention and referrals to resources.
  • Your health care provider. Doctors and nurses will treat injuries and can refer you to other local resources.
  • A counseling or mental health center. Counseling and support groups for people in abusive relationships are available in most communities.
  • A local court. Your district court can help you obtain a restraining order that legally mandates the abuser to stay away from you or face arrest. Local advocates may be available to help guide you through the process.

Domestic violence against men can have devastating effects. Although you may not be able to stop your partner's abusive behavior, you can seek help. Remember, no one deserves to be abused.

Apr. 13, 2014 See more In-depth