Most domestic violence shelters are there to help you escape from the dangers of domestic violence. But if you’ve already escaped on your own they may not be able to assist you.
It’s a weird catch-22, being homeless because you left a situation you shouldn’t have been in which was the right thing to do (and consequently had to), but then not being able to get help from the shelter because you got yourself out.
This has happened to me. I was able to get out on my own.
I was safe but the domestic violence shelter couldn’t bring me to their specific shelter because I had already gotten out with some of my cash and belongings.
The point of learning about domestic violence, regardless of the type of relationship it happens in, is to avoid it, mitigate it, and if possible-- stop it.
Domestic Violence organizations and shelters want you to learn about these things, prepare to avoid them, and take measures to protect yourself if you find yourself in this situation.
This is true even if:
- you've been in this situation in the past, learned from it, and even took steps to protect yourself just in case you found yourself in it again.
- you’ve been diligent about avoiding abusive relationships, learning the warning signs, saying no potential partners that have throw out warning signs, keeping a stash of your own money, etc…
But if those measures fail and you've ended up in a relationship you have to get out of anyway, they want you to get out safely and properly. Which I did, but then they couldn’t help me.
If they would have been the ones to help me get out, then suddenly, they would have been able to help me.
They were clear about it. I had to ask them twice to make sure my understanding was correct.
I remember hanging up being in shock as I didn't remember that being in the fine print.
If you are in a situation where you feel you may be in danger or an the way of imminent harm, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1! Do not be afraid to reach out to any domestic violence shelter if you truly need assistance. Just be prepared that if you've already gotten yourself out, they may not be able to help you.
The situation I described above, happened to me one time and may not be typical of all domestic violence shelters.