I Am Afraid
Dear Sue Ellen,
I can’t give you my name because I am afraid. My boyfriend is getting more and more hateful towards me. I tried to break up with him, but he threatened to kill me if I did. He’s all nice around everybody else, but when it’s just me and him, things are different. Nobody believes that such a nice guy would every harm anyone. I don’t know how to get out of this situation. Please help me.
You are in a very dangerous place. Did you know that everyday three women die from domestic violence in America? Some abusers are masters at covering their tracks. You must find a way to get out of this situation. There are shelters for victims of domestic violence, but charges have to be filed with police. If he hasn’t physically abused you, or if you don’t have proof of the threats he has made, it will hinder the police from doing anything to protect you.
You must come up with a plan. If you stay with this guy, it will only get worse. Domestic Violence can be: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse or a combination of all four. I spoke to an expert in the field of domestic violence prevention and this is what she said about your situation.
You did the right thing by reaching out. Leaving an abusive relationship is not only hard, but it is dangerous. In fact, violence may increase by as much as 75% upon separation. You need a plan that addresses how you are going to maintain safety while you are still with him; what things you need to do before you leave; and how you plan to be vigilant and safe after you leave.
I won’t lie to you and say everything’s going to be okay or that it will be easy to get out of this nightmare. There are many programs that can help you. It’s just a matter of knowing about them and reaching out. You can educate yourself about your rights as a victim and choose to regain control of your life. It is possible for you to live free of fear and abuse. Your local police department may have a victim assistance coordinator or another professional that can help you. You have the right to speak to law enforcement without your boyfriend knowing.
Remember: Safety is first and foremost right now.
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