“The Great Escape”
Leaving for Good
“First things first, ladies, let’s get our ducks in a row here!” We need planning with military precision; leave no stone unturned, and nothing to chance. REMEMBER, the object of the game here is to make sure your abuser has no clue you are leaving. Once you leave, you want to make sure you leave no trail.
You will want to ensure that your new life gets off to a secure, problem-free beginning.
Change of Address
KNOW THIS: When you file a change of address with many financial institutions, a confirmation is automatically sent to your old address. If you were living with your abuser, this could tip him off as to exactly where you are! For many companies, the computer generates this automatically and many times, they cannot override it.
GET AN ALTERNATIVE ADDRESS IMMEDIATELY, USE YOUR WORK ADDRESS OR THAT OF A FRIEND OR RELATIVE, OR GET A POST OFFICE BOX. Use this address to open a new bank account in your own name, applying for credit cards, jobs, or whatever. If you change the address from the home you share with your abuser, he could inquire if any mail has been forwarded to you and discover where you are. Don’t take the chance, get the new address NOW!
Somewhere to Go
Wherewill you go? Can you stay with a friend or relative? There are many shelters you can go to while you sort things out. If you can, you can stay at a cheap hotel for a few days until you can get a permanent place. Think about this now and have a short list of places to go.
Social Security Have your Social Security number changed if you feel your abuser may use it to track you down or to abuse your credit. The Social Security Administration Domestic Violence pageoffers new social security numbers to victimsof domestic abuse on request. Go to their main site at www.ssa.gov for information on benefits, Medicare and all other questions relating to social security.
Get a Bank Account You will need one in your own name. This is when you will use that alternate address. Use it when opening your new bank account. When choosing a bank, make sure they have branches in the area you plan to move.
Yes, you are going to need this. If you work, have some of your salary sent to your new bank account. If he is a financial control freak, collect change from his pockets, save some of the grocery money, do anything you can to save up. Pawn your wedding ring after you leave. Sell your wedding dress and any other items. A few days before leaving, try to cash in any mutual funds/savings accounts/CDs or anything else you jointly own. Do this ONLY if you are sure he will not find out until after you are gone.
There is much more information we will get into next month. Should you need help, contact the LPSO Victim Advocate at 318-992-2067.