Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

When Is Your Life in Danger?

Intimidating person wearing a hoodie on a dark street. You can't see their face - they're like Death.

When You Should Leave an Abusive Relationship

Is your life in danger if you're 'only' suffering verbal and emotional abuse? Yes, it is. Should you leave? Yes, you should. But sometimes we're not ready.

Is your life in danger? The fact is, no matter what type of abuse you’re suffering in your relationship because there is abuse present, your life is in danger. Verbal abuse and emotional abuse will escalate to physical violence. And physical violence, no matter how slight, can lead to death. That is why when you seek help for domestic violence, you’re often asked, “So, when are you leaving?”

However, the pressure of “leaving” almost made me give up and pretend my husband didn’t abuse me. I thought I couldn’t leave, that there was no way I could go. And the question of leaving terrified me. You may have no clue how you could possibly leave either.

It’s okay. You don’t have to walk out the door now, even if your life is in danger. If the physical violence erupts, roll up in a ball and wrap your arms over your face and head (scary, right?). No guarantee it will work, but something is better than nothing. Violence can happen that way, from out of the blue, when you live in an abusive relationship.

That may seem far-fetched if you’re “only” suffering verbal and emotional abuse. But the fact is it wouldn’t take much for your abuser to physically assault you at any time. The problem is that most of us don’t realize how close to danger we really are. Here are some statistics:

  • Did your lover force you to have sex – rape you? Your risk of death increased more than 7 times.
  • Is your significant other constantly jealous? Your risk of death just increased by more than 9 times.
  • Did your abuser threaten to strangle you? Your risk of death increased by almost 10 times.
  • Did your lover threaten to hurt or kill you? Your risk of homicide increased 15 times.
  • Did your abuser threaten to use a weapon? Did they use the weapon? Your risk of fatality increased 20 times.

So when should you leave an abusive relationship? Now.

Is Your Life in Danger but You Can’t Leave?

But if you feel you can’t leave yet, fill out a safety plan now. Also, visit the National Domestic Abuse Hotline or call the hotline at 800-799-SAFE for immediate domestic violence help. Do I need to remind you of 911? No, I didn’t think so. Call 911 if you are being or feel threatened.

My point is that abuse of any kind is dangerous. Is your life in danger? Yes. Please see First Steps for Abuse Victims for detailed help. You can also apply for a mentor if you want.

Some other things to think about:


The risk of death list comes from Proposals Take Aim at Domestic Violence.

Photo by Luis Villasmil