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Just how bad can it get?


How many women who tried to break out of an abusive relationship are lying in our cemeteries today? The danger associated with attempting to escape domestic violence is somber. A victim of domestic/intimate partner violence is at the greatest point of danger when she tries to leave.

Yet, still today, victims and survivors, even advocates, constantly hear that age-old question: “Why doesn’t she just leave?” Leaving can be fatal—it’s that simple.

This information is not being shared to discourage women from removing themselves from a violent relationship. Rather, it is an encouragement to prepare a safety plan, develop a safety code and use them. Be sure they are firmly in place before you attempt the change.

SAFETY CODE: Find the one person you trust more than anyone else in the world, the person you would depend on with your very life, who will hold your confidence and have your back. Create a code word. Make it rather innocuous, but something only the two of you will put together as a code for, “I need help NOW. This is a 911.” It should be a word or phrase that will not raise the curiosity of the abuser. Here’s an example: Everybody knows I hate beets. I despise beets. So, if I use the safety code, “I love beets,” then most certainly the abuser will know something is up. Now, if my safety code is “Let’s go to the zoo next week,” or “armadillo,” it’s probably going to keep me safe. My point is, use due diligence in selecting the code word or phrase, but make sure you both know that if it is tossed out in conversation, it’s code red all the way. The friend then calls the law enforcement or 911 and tells them there is someone in mortal danger. Give them the address, names, descriptions. Does the abuser own a gun? That is imperative for the officers to know before they reach the destination.

SAFETY PLAN: Rather than try to make an extensive list here, not exactly the safest site on the internet to develop a safety plan, let me provide you with this link where you can find information furnished by the pros who do this day in and day out, helping victims put together the safety plan that will best work for them. Click here. There are other links on the Victim Support Page of Orange Blossom Wishes.

Bottom lineStay safe at all costs! Be smart about it, and do not put yourself in harm’s way.



About Carolyn S. Hennecy

Carolyn S. Hennecy - a/k/a southern blonde traveling with sense of humor and a passion for cheesecake, known to be heard several times a day declaring, "JUST PEACHY!" Advocate for domestic violence awareness; member of Sexual Violence Task Force of Tampa Bay Speakers Bureau; spokesperson for American Heart Association; motivational and inspirational speaker; Author of ORANGE BLOSSOM WISHES: Child Molested, Woman Abused - Her Victorious Journey to Freedom (Carolyn's memoirs), she will be featured on the ABC Action News (WFTS Tampa) Emmy award winning primetime special "Taking Action Against Domestic Violence" scheduled to air Friday, October 14, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.


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