Once you have made your escape, Lisa says you should reach out to your friends and family who can help you stay safe—and then you should take a legal step. "Get an order of protection the day you leave—not tomorrow, not next week," Lisa says. "You go to the court in every single state in this country and you can get an immediate order of protection, and you make lots of copies—in your car, in your purse, at work. You give it to the security guy at work. You give it to the principal at school."
Lisa says you should keep 911 on your speed dial, and change your cell phone number to make it more difficult for your abuser to reach you. Change your daily routine to keep away from stores or other places where you usually go, and avoid being alone. "Stay with somebody who loves you and takes care of you and wants to support you," Lisa says. "If you're going to the mall, go with a girlfriend. If you're going out for the weekend, make sure somebody's with you."
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If you don't have a safe place to stay with family or friends, seek out a shelter for battered women or a safe home. And if you have children, remember that they, too, have been torn from their home and their normal life. They might need help from counselors to deal with the trauma. "There is a whole community of support services with people like me ready to hold out a hand and say, 'Grab on. We're here for you,'" Lisa says.