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self help

Domestic Violence: Safety Plans

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Domestic violence is seldom a one-off incident. Rather, It is a pattern that repeats itself. If you or someone you know suffers from intimate terrorism prepare a “safety plan” much in advance.

The most frequent types of physical abuse include getting slapped, grabbed, pushed, shoved, kicked, choked, bit, struck with an object or whipped. Over 90% of those physically abused are women. If your female friend is being abused, It is not uncommon to see that she makes excuses for frequent wounds or bruises that are visible on her face/ body. It is possible that she covers up for her partner due to these feelings of fear and insecurity. Such a friend might also start socially withdrawing or avoiding meeting you as a result. Inconsistency at work without reason is also possible as a result. If you have a friend who is being abused, it is not uncommon to see that they are numb, detached, and their emotional responsiveness is muted. They could also suffer from low self-esteem, depression or anxiety. One way to help such a person is to be there for them and to let them know that you are concerned about them. It is also important to ask them what they would like to happen in the future and that you are there to help. Very slowly and gently give them information to let them know their rights and guide them to intelligence on the skills necessary to maintain physical and emotional safety.  Refer them to a doctor who can further assist them.

Safety Plan

A] Inform a confidante
B] Keep emergency numbers at hand or on speed dial with you and your confidante
[Doctors / Family / Friends / Helplines]
C] Where can you seek safe shelter ? Keep your options ever-ready
D] Prepare a bag of essentials
(1) Cash
(2) Masks
(3) Sanitizers
(4) Other medications
(5) Phone & charger
(6) Identification (passport/license/aadhar card/ PAN card)
(7) A change of clothing for self (and child)
(8) important records such as birth certificates, financial documents, school records, etc and
(9) water-bottle, dates or other dried-fruits to-go
E] Document any evidence that might be of legal help in the future

Learn more about domestic violence and what it is (Click on the article):
Article 1 written for Femina by me | Article 2 written for Femina by me

Whom should I contact if I am at risk (India)
National Commission for Women : http://ncw.nic.in/
SNEHA is a Mumbai based non-profit organisation
Snehalaya is a Pune based short and long stay safe house that provides legal aid, refuge and alternatives to those experiencing harassment, discrimination and domestic violence.
Click on these numbers available from The Hindu
Click on Saahas to access a directory of support across 196 countries. They are a feminist and peace-oriented tech and AI that supports survivors of gender-based violence and fosters active bystander intervention.

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