Nobody ever wants to experience domestic violence in a relationship. Nor does anyone deserve to live in fear and suffer from unrelenting abuse. Those who’ve never experienced domestic violence may not understand why abuse victims struggle to break free from such a toxic environment.
Thankfully, there’s hope. Survivors can seek refuge at domestic violence shelters. These shelters can shield survivors from abuser reprisals and help them heal; help them rebuild their lives after a devastating, traumatic event.
Let’s dive into what you should know regarding domestic violence shelters.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Now, this may be a silly question. However, it’s an important one. Domestic violence isn’t just black eyes and bruises. It’s not just physical abuse. Remember, there are multiple types of abuse. There’s also mental, verbal, and emotional abuse. If a person ever feels uncomfortable or like they’re being controlled and forced to do something they don’t want to, then that falls under the domestic violence umbrella.
It should be noted that trauma bonding may be what’s preventing someone from leaving a volatile relationship. Trauma bonds are essentially emotional bonds that a person forms with their abuser after a period of cyclical behavior. The abuser entraps them with a series of punishments and rewards. Not to mention, this person may be threatened with death if they attempt to flee.
For abusers, it’s all about power and control. They wish to exert this control over their partners because they feel it’s their right. They wish to belittle and devalue their partners.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline harbors a plethora of invaluable resources on this very subject as well as domestic violence shelters. They also encourage survivors to call them just in case said survivors are being tracked over the internet. It’s a safe zone for seeking help. You can also create a safety plan through their site.
How and Where to Find Domestic Violence Shelters
There are a plethora of resources on the internet that’ll help you find domestic violence shelters near you. Domesticshelters.org boasts a directory and a search engine. You can search by state or simply type in your zip code or city into the search bar. There’s even a map of the US that documents where domestic violence shelters are located.
Not to mention, you can see a side-by-side comparison of the services offered at nearby shelters. If you’re in a domestic violence situation and you cannot safely search the web, you can always call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to get assistance in finding a local domestic violence shelter.
What to Expect at Domestic Violence Shelters
You’re ready to leave. You’ve got a safety plan. But you’re not sure what to expect. You may be wondering where you’ll sleep. Can you take the dog? What if you have to leave in a hurry? Domesticshelters.org gives a comprehensive breakdown regarding what you’ll find at domestic violence shelters.
First thing’s first: your safety is paramount. Ergo, security at domestic violence shelters is pretty strict. If you have kids, you’ll share a room with them. If you’re alone, you’ll likely room with another survivor. The layout of domestic violence shelters varies greatly. Some facilities offer apartments while others may place survivors with a host family.
Secondly, your stay will be 100 percent free. Nobody will bill you. Most places will help you transition from one living space to another and will give you a time frame for staying. However, it’s usually three to four days at emergency shelters and one month or longer at other facilities.
Additionally, transportation is provided. Whether it’s transport to the shelter or access to public transit so you can travel to appointments, that aspect of your stay is all taken care of.
Your kids will be safe. In fact, some domestic violence shelters offer childcare during the day and evening as well as during counseling sessions. You probably won’t be allowed to have visitors. Naturally, this is for your benefit, and to ensure that your abuser can’t try to make contact with you via said visitors.
Not to mention, you’ll have access to basic necessities such as food, clothing, linens, and toiletries. The shelter staff can help you secure medications and vital documentation that you may have left behind.
Now, here’s the stinger: most facilities don’t have the capacity to care for pets. That being said, the staff can help you find referrals for your furry loved ones and resources so you don’t have to leave them behind. However, some shelters can care for pets. All service animals should be welcome.
There Is Hope
You can find sanctuary from abuse. You don’t have to live in fear. There are plenty of domestic violence shelters out there that are ready and willing to help. Click here to get started.