Not wearing scarves or long jewellery during a violent argument, staying away from the kitchen where knives might be easily accessible, and ditching smartphones that can be tracked via GPS.
It is frightening advice, but can be the difference between life and death during violent arguments.
A new booklet full of hard won wisdom on how to safely leave abusive relationships is being released in hardcopy and online by Darwin women’s shelter, Dawn House.
For a former client of refuge, Claire (not her real name) the step-by-step plans are exactly what she needed when fleeing her violent former partner.
“I literally ran out of the relationship I was in … I drove my car out through fences. I left a lot, I lost a lot,” Claire said.
By the time Claire arrived at the doors of the refuge, she was 15 kilos underweight, terrified, but finally safe.
“I couldn’t just rock up at a friend’s house with my sons and me, or go to see family and stuff like that. But by coming to where I came to, it saved my life.”
Claire said she was lucky to get out with her children when she did, but she would have left sooner and escaped more abuse, if only she had known how to.
“I was too much of a proud person as well to go out and ask for help. And I didn’t have any friends and things like that … the only places I could really go were libraries and things like this … and I wish I had seen a pamphlet like that,” she said.
Technology the ‘new frontier’ of abuse
Alex Richmond is the community educator at Dawn House, and said the resource helped women who, due to trauma, could not plan a safe escape.
“When people are highly traumatised, thinking through really complex arrangements like how exactly you’re going to leave a relationship that’s this violent and this frightening is really difficult to process,” Ms Richmond said.
She said there was also information for women who might still be living with a violent abuser, and how they could stay safer while still in the relationship.
“It’s important to remember that these women didn’t fall in love with someone because they violently assault them — they fell in love for the same reason that anybody does,” Ms Richmond said.