Abusive husbands come in all sizes, shapes and colors, crossing ethnic and age groups. Their anger often leaves their wives physically battered and bruised and emotionally broken.
Dr. Phil follows the story of Star, a mother of four who flees to a shelter to escape what she says is an abusive marriage. Below are his crucial steps for leaving a volatile relationship.
If you are in immediate danger, call the police.
Develop an escape plan which does not include confronting your abuser.
Contact your local battered women's shelter, and know about laws and resources available to you before a crisis.
Keep evidence of physical abuse.
Keep a journal of all violent incidences.
Take important phone numbers.
Gather important documents " medical records, birth certificates, driver's license.
If injured, go to the doctor, report what happened and document the visit.
Plan with your children, and identify a safe place for them to go for help.
Try to set money aside.
Pack an extra set of clothing for yourself and your children.
Request police standby or an escort to the shelter.
"You may need to make a case to prove this [abuse] concerning custody or a restraining order or whatever, so this evidence is important," Dr. Phil says. "You've got to figure out a way to get even a few dollars in case you have to get a cab or you have to make a pay phone call. Women who plan to flee should store extra clothes at a friend's house for themselves and for their children, to make a speedy getaway.
If you're in an abusive relationship and need immediate assistance, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233).