Rebel Well: for those in abuse, or who are homeless, transient or in the system

This piece is part of Rebel Well: a Starter Survival Guide to a Trumped America for Teens and Emerging Adults.

FOR THOSE IN ABUSIVE OR CONTROLLING INTIMATE OR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Get out ASAP if you can. When we think something, we get more secure and bold in that thinking when we feel supported in it. White male supremacy, and supremacy, period, has been more emboldened now, and is now literally legitimized in one of the most powerful ways it possibly can be. A known abuser is entering the White House to lead this nation and influence the world. That sends a powerful message to other abusers, one that is likely to cement abuse as well as escalating it.  However unsafe you are in this now, you are likely to soon, if you have not already, become more unsafe.

Know that if you are in an abusive relationship, it is not your fault. You are not responsible for your abuser’s actions — and even if there are “honeymoon” periods where things feel great, it doesn’t mean earlier abuse didn’t happen. Sometimes it takes a while to recognize abuse — don’t feel like you have to stay in a relationship just because things are going well now. It’s common to feel guilty or complicit in your own abuse, because that’s an isolating tool abusers use. Don’t be ashamed to speak up, and while some people may downplay what you are saying, others are listening, and are willing and ready to help. If you’re having a tough time talking, anonymous hotlines are a great place to start, and remember: You define your own experience. Not other people. If something feels wrong, it’s not okay, no matter who tells you otherwise.

If you need advice about getting out and making a safety plan — whether this is about someone you live with or don’t, and is someone who is a romantic or sexual partner or a family — check out the Scarleteen Safety Plan. If you need information on what abuse is, have a look at this piece: Blinders Off: Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault.

If you could become pregnant within this relationship, see the section on preventing pregnancy.  Pregnancy not only ups your risk of harm from an abuser while pregnant, if you bring the pregnancy to term and have a child, you and that child are then even more stuck there than you were, as well as that child now being at risk.

FOR THOSE WHO ARE HOMELESS, TRANSIENT, OR IN THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM

If you are currently homeless, or live in a home where you are often kicked out, or are concerned you may become at risk of being kicked out: Find out where the closest youth and/or general homeless shelters are available near you. A hostile political climate may make the world less safe for you, especially if you are also marginalized in other ways, and bad family dynamics could get worse under stress. If you have a local YMCA or YWCA, find those locations and numbers as well. Write this information down somewhere or print it out. You can also talk to friends’ families, or ask a friend to talk to theirs, to see if you can make sure you have at least one safe home with an extra bed or couch you can go to if needed.

Running away: It may become harder to find safe places to go to if you run away now and in the future, as many of those services will likely be in greater demand, particularly youth or domestic violence shelters. If your home is currently abusive or otherwise unsafe, do your research now about your options and build networks now so you can act quickly if you need to. When possible, reach out to organizations or known, vetted people for help — some people attempt to take advantage of runaways. That may include doing research into filing as an emancipated minor (legal aid services can help you with this). If your home isn’t great, but is safe and okay, it is likely in your best interest to simply figure out how to cope your best there until you can legally move out.

If you are in the foster system already, and your current foster placement is okay, but not great, so long as it is safe for you, stay put.  As you may already know, not all foster homes or families are safe, and youth additionally marginalized beyond being in the foster care system (like LGBQT, disabled or Black youth) may find it even harder to find safe homes now or in the coming months or years as some of those homes may be with families who agree with biased or discriminatory attitudes or policies of the Trump administration.


all of rebel well: front page •  why we made this guide • for everyone • healthcare • relationships & sex • conflict resolution • for those suffering harassment online, at school or at work • for those in abusive/controlling relationships, or who are homeless, transient or in the foster system • for those who are trans or LGBQ • for those who are of color • for those who experience religious intolerance or who are undocumented citizens • for those who are disabled • for those interacting with the justice system • for those engaging in active protest • when everything seems terrible or nowhere feels safe • how to help each other & improve this godawful mess • resources and helplines