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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Safety Plan (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Safety Plan
ellecubed
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Hello all,

I am new here and I just recently talked to someone amazing in the chat section and she suggested that I come here and see if anyone else had some ideas for safety planning.

**May Trigger** I was born and raised in a network of pedophiles who sexually abused me from the time I as 2-3 until now. I left 7 years ago but they have managed to continue to get in touch with me and hurt me up to an including an assault this week.

The police seem ambivalent about this as it is so pervasive and most of them are from a small town. It seems as though it is not that important to them and therefore I have to take my safety in to my own hands.

I have created a life for myself with good friends, a great therapist, a good doctor and medical team and resources for being LGBT and blind.

Most of the crisis lines I have called have said I should just run away and leave it all behind.

Sometimes I feel like I should just stop fighting them and maybe they will be less violent.

I don't want to leave. I have done the normal things to keep myself safe that are in all safety planning guides but I feel like I am out of options.

Do any of you brilliant folks have any out of the box or even blatantly obvious suggestions?

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eryn_smiles
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Sorry to hear you're going through this! How safe do you feel where you're living at the moment? Do you live with anyone, and if so are they aware that you're in danger? Do you have access to a safe house or refuge (or a friend's home) to go to in an emergency?

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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ellecubed
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Hi Eryn_Smiles,

I live alone and because my address is known to my abusers I do not feel safe living at home. In fact, at this moment I am in the process of trying to find some sort of hotel for the night.

As far as emergency shelters/safe houses go I do not qualify because it was not domestic violence and I own my own lease.

I have thought of going to a friend's house but I worry about putting them in undue danger.

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Heather
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Hey elle: I'm only just passing through right now, but I think it's safe to say you probably would not be putting your friends in danger, because any of these people going where they know there ARE other people with you strikes me as highly unlikely.

If you feel unsafe, or are literally unsafe, I'd say a friend's house/apartment is probably your very best option. they know you, after all, can likely give you emotional support, and again, these people are not going to be likely to go somewhere where they know you are with people caring for you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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Hi Heather,

Thank you for the perspective on friends. I was told you were a safety plan ninja by two people and that seems to be holding true.

Thank you.

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Molias
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In terms of the police response - have you had contact with multiple police officers who have been unresponsive, or has it just been one or two? Is there any way to either lodge a complaint or talk to someone with more authority than who you have talked to previously? It seems like if the police are having this response to your abuse then there's something really wrong with that department.

Is there any legal care or advice you can access, where someone could be your advocate when dealing with the police?

I also think staying with someone seems like a good short-term plan. If you have a friend willing to offer you that space, knowing your situation, then it sounds like they understand and are willing to take on any risk involved, although I think Heather's right that the risk is probably lower if you are not by yourself.

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ellecubed
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Hi Molias,

I began reporting this seven years back and have had contact with various cops and over the past six months they seem to be giving up and thinking that this group is "too pervasive" to stop. Or at least that is what they have told me.

I am seeking legal advice on Tuesday after the long weekend to see what can be done.

I am waiting to hear back from a friend to see if I can spend the night tonight.

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Heather
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I didn't know I was any kind of ninja at all! Maybe that's because that's how much of a ninja I am. [Razz]

Really, I popped back in because I was going to add that it really should be, I think, up to our friends what, if any, risks they want to take in this regard. I know for myself, for instance, I've been that friend people have stayed with to steer clear of abusers, and that's when it actually WAS likely, or even a given, they'd show up. And I always want to be that friend. Now and then, I don't feel able or up to it, but when I do, I want to do that for people I care about, and those are risks I'm willing to take.

So, can you find someone to stay with tonight then, or at least start making some calls to see if you can?

It also sounds like you're really well-networked on the whole. That's fantastic. Have you basically pinged everyone you can within that network, especially your therapist, I'd say, to tell them you need safety right now and ask for them to pitch in, too?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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Hi Heather,

I think the great thing about Ninja's is often they don't know they are.

I have reached out to all of my network to see if anyone can help out. A lot our out of town because it is a long weekend in Canada. Which reminds me maybe I could stay at a friends while they are not there with their permission of course.

My therapist does know, my entire team does and I promised I would not stay at my unsafe place tonight.

I am trying to make that unsafe promise a reality.

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Heather
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It sounds to me like it'd be most ideal to stay with a friend who IS home, don't you?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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I thought of that after I wrote it and that probably does make sense. Thank you for pointing that out.
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Heather
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I hope you can find a friend to stay with: for tonight, maybe even for a few days, so you can kind of reground yourself, and be in a safe space to really plan out where to go from here.

I'm heading out for the day, but I'll be back around a little over the weekend, as will some of our volunteers, if you want to talk more about that. eryn_smiles, who initially responded to you, is also a ninja in her own right. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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Thank you so much for the support Heather. It is greatly appreciated and thanks for pointing to other resources.
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nixieGurl
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Hey there ellecubed,

Sorry to jump in here a bit late. I just wanted to let you know that I have been in your situation recently and if it would help to talk to someone who gets it I would happily be that person for you.

Hope you are okay.

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ellecubed
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Hi NixieGurl,

You are definitely not jumping in late. This is a lot to figure out and besides having a safe place to sleep for a couple of nights. I really do not have anything figured out. I would love to talk to you. Is there a way to private message on this board? If so, I can send you my email.

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Robin Lee
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HI Elle,

Were you able to figure out a safe place to stay for the next little bit? I hope so.

For your security and privacy, as well as Nixie's, you and she can talk here at the boards for now.

--------------------
Robin

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ellecubed
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Hi Robin,

Thank you very much for clarifying the where to talk for now thing. I had no idea.

I have booked myself in to a hotel for a week until I figure things out.

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Robin Lee
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Yay for you for taking a proactive measure. I'm glad you've done that.

....and you're welcome for the clarification. smile...

--------------------
Robin

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nixieGurl
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Good on you Elle, that will be a good break for you. I found that when I had a break away from everything I had a clearer head to think about more long term things that seemed far too much to consider when I was right in the mess of things. I hope you get that break.
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ellecubed
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Thank you nixieGurl,

The break has been good so far to get me some sleep. My thinking has not yet come back yet and I thinking that might just be the concussion wearing off.Hoping for some back to normalness soon.

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Heather
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How have things been going for you, elle, now that you're in a safer place?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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Hi Heather,

Thank you for checking in. I am feeling physically safer but reeling a little because of all of the the things that I have to figure out. And then hopelessnessess come in (there should be a cuter word) and I am crying and not sleeping at 4 am.

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Heather
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I understand: sometimes having space to breathe also means extra space to think and feel.

I'm in and out a whole bunch today, but it you want to talk choices about staying where you are (Toronto), or looking into moving at any point, happy to do that with you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Robin Lee
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I'll also be around today and am happy to talk through your choices with you if you're up for that today.

--------------------
Robin

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Heather
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I'm starting some digging for you, by the way, to get some extra networks from friends and colleagues in TO so you can get some legal advocacy and some in-person help with some of the crisis services you need, like with housing/safety right now.

So, far, I've got:
• http://www.ywcatoronto.org -- The Y is GREAT with so much of what you need, so if you haven't gone to them, I'd suggest them as a first stop.
• http://www.awhl.org
• http://www.211toronto.ca

Have you been in touch with any or all of those yet?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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Hi Heather and Robin,

Thank you both for being around to bounce off ideas.

Heather: the Y has a really particular mandate that I do not fall under but they are amazing.

AWHL is a great referral line but they have no idea where to refer me because I had a traumatizing experience at a shelter and will not entertain that. To them that makes me not thinking things through. That was only one person there's opinion though.

211 is amazing.

I think the problem is I know I need to go but my therapist has been the first person I could depend on, i have a great doctor. I have specialists for chronic incurable diseases, I have good friends and i don't want to let them win.

At the same time the only way I see this currently working out is me being killed by them. And not working out in a good way.

The other option I am afraid of is leaving and having nobody to care making the decision to not be here easier.


I am rambling now sorry. I am trying not to be stubborn.

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Heather
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What do you mean about them having a mandate you don't fall under?

I suggest connecting with these orgs so you can get help with things like safe housing and legal advocacy: it doesn't sound like your therapist is able to meet those needs, yes? If not, you clearly need to find someone, or more than one someone, who is. I don't understand how connecting with extra orgs/people who can help is letting your abusers win, if that's what you're saying.

I don't think that being killed by these people or being abused by them for the rest of your life is likely or something that's more likely to happen than other options. I understand that when growing up with abuse like this, it's hard not to believe your abusers are omnipotent, but they're truly not. And I know it can be hard to shake that, in your mind, but I think you're going to need to work on doing that so you can be doing what IS in your power to really get and keep yourself safe, okay?

I hear you about having a traumatic experience at a shelter, but you've had more than one OUT of shelters, yes? Personally, given your need for safety, I'd suggest you strongly reconsider your stance there, especially if safe housing options ARE offered to you and available for you.

[ 05-19-2013, 12:47 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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I don't think I am explaining myself right here Heather. The mandate to enter a shelter as far as I know in Toronto is that you have to be in a domestic violence situation. You have to live with your violent partner. I don't. I have my own lease and pay my own rent which makes me not covered under the shelters unless exceptions are made and since I was last in a shelter the numbers have really been cut down and spots for single females are limited.

I guess where my issue is, is that I have done everything in my power to keep myself safe. I got numerous rape kits, I lived in a shelter for six months, I built a new life and it still did not matter. They got to me again and worse.

I know I need a reality check I am just not sure trying something that has already failed is it.

At the moment, safe housing options are not available to me. I am paying out of pocket to stay in a hotel.

I am really appreciative of what you are doing here. I hope I am not coming across as snarky.

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Heather
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So, you've already double-checked that with the Y? If so, and they agreed, how about what they had to say about legal advocacy services and getting your assaults handled by the police?

I'm not suggesting, so it's clear, you being continually assaulted and harassed is your doing, at all. I'm simply making sure, since you're asking for help here and seem to be reporting that some of the most basic help -- like getting the police to act on reports of a lifetime of assaults, which are continuing in the present -- is out of your reach, that every avenue available to you to help with that and more has been explored.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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Yes I have talked to the Y and other related Toronto organizations. Who keep referring back and forth to one another with no real answer on where to find police advocacy besides from the police victim services. I have made 20 calls in the last 10 days and the best option I have been given is to get a private legal aid lawyer which I plan to do on Tuesday when they open.

To clarify the police have prosecuted three people and they have been found guilty going back decades. It is the same group in the present they are hesitant to prosecute. I don't know those reasons.

I understand you are doing your best to answer my initial question.

I guess at this point I am looking for things outside the box of normality in this situation.

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Robin Lee
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So, you've got the appointment with the Legal Aid lawyer on Tuesday.

In terms of housing, I do just want to double check that you've spoken to all of the organizations that provide safe housing, including the Y, and that they told you, for your specific situation, that you don't qualify for their services. In other words, folks have a mandate, but many folks also do things other than their mandate, when they can, which is why I'm double-checking that you have spoken to the organizations and that they've told you they can't provide housing.

In terms of other options outside the box, if you've exhausted all safe housing possibilities where you are, then that leaves you with the conundrum you started out with, ehther to stay or whether to move out of province.

--------------------
Robin

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Heather
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Great: I think a legal aid lawyer absolutely is your next best step. This is good. (Though I know it's frustrating as hell to have to make so many calls: being in need like this and having to do that always sucks, and always involves an arseload of endless phone calls.)

So, you're saying these three people have been found guilty: you mean they have been charged then? Sorry, I'm feeling confused, since "found guilty: means prosecution has happened, legally.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "looking for things outside the box of normality." Perhaps you can explain that?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ellecubed
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Yes I have checked with the safe bed registry, shelter registry and the y and they have all given the same answer.

I am really sorry for being so frustrating.

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ellecubed
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I am sorry I a getting emotional and explaining badly. Three of my a users in a network of say 20 have been found guilty and are in jail. They are not the ones obviously who are threatening my safety now.

By outside the box of normality. Are there any other things that can be done when the system is failing?

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Robin Lee
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Did anyone say you were frustrating? smile....

You have a crappy situation, and it is, as Heather said, having to do all this calling around, being in need and not being able to find the answers without all that calling around, truly does suck. So, if anyone's frustrated, it's frustration that the answers don't appear to be coming easily for you. Hoping the Legal Aid lawyer can help you with the legal advocacy side of this.

--------------------
Robin

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