Es­cape from a des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion

Antelope Valley Press - - Valley Life - Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­

Dear An­nie: I am a clin­i­cal so­cial worker and have some train­ing in, and ex­pe­ri­ence with, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in my work.

I think you do a fine job ed­u­cat­ing and coun­sel­ing peo­ple. I read a re­cent col­umn that gave the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line num­ber (800-7997233). I have one cru­cial point to add: As im­por­tant as it is for women (or any­one) to get out of a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sit­u­a­tion, it is very im­por­tant that she has sup­port and safety while es­cap­ing. If an abuser knows she is leav­ing, he is more likely to in­ten­sify his vi­o­lence, which can be fa­tal for the per­son try­ing to leave.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence work­ers will as­sess the per­son’s sit­u­a­tion and help her (or him) to stay as safe as pos­si­ble while try­ing to es­cape. They will also help cre­ate a safety plan for the fu­ture. Per­haps this has al­ready been said in your col­umn, but I’m point­ing it out in case it hasn’t.

Thank you for all the good work you do!

— Es­cap­ing Safely With a Plan

Dear Es­cape Plan: Thank you for your let­ter. I love hear­ing from pro­fes­sion­als with first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence. In cre­at­ing a safe es­cape plan, also con­sider one’s children and an­i­mals who might be at risk. Try to find a shel­ter or a fam­ily mem­ber that will help you out with your children and pets. Abusers some­times use pets and children as a threat to keep the vic­tim with them.

Dear An­nie: You have printed many let­ters from read­ers who were alone, or felt lonely, in one way or an­other. I am writ­ing to sug­gest that, for those in­di­vid­u­als, vol­un­teer­ing might be the an­swer. It is a great way to meet peo­ple, in ad­di­tion to of­fer­ing a ser­vice to one’s com­mu­nity.

Read­ers could search for vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties in their com­mu­ni­ties via the in­ter­net, the lo­cal news­pa­per or per­haps at a nearby se­nior cen­ter. Of course, not-for-profit groups, such as lo­cal hos­pi­tals, pub­lic li­braries and the Red Cross, are of­ten look­ing for vol­un­teers. After learn­ing of pos­si­ble vol­un­teer jobs, pick one or two to fol­low up with that seem to in­volve work­ing with oth­ers or that are near other peo­ple with whom one can so­cial­ize.

— Big on Vol­un­teer­ing

Dear Vol­un­teer: Vol­un­teer­ing is a great sug­ges­tion to help make friends. You know from the be­gin­ning that you share a com­mon in­ter­est, and you are do­ing some­thing for oth­ers, which al­ways feels good.

Dear An­nie: Many years ago, I at­tended a con­fer­ence where the is­sue of lone­li­ness and lack of close friends came up. Sev­eral ladies sug­gested that feel­ing lonely was re­lated to what they called “stingi­ness” in shar­ing them­selves.

As an in­tro­vert, I could iden­tify with their ex­pla­na­tion. As I near 80 years, it takes a bit more en­ergy to reach out to oth­ers, but that seems to be the best so­lu­tion I have found to avoid lone­li­ness.

— Tip from an In­tro­vert

Dear Tip from an In­tro­vert: Thank you for your sug­ges­tion. It is won­der­ful ad­vice.

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