Stay Safe Tips
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.
GENERAL TIPS – Going Out
- Trust your gut – If you feel threatened or unsafe, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible
- Leave a trail – Let someone you trust know your fabulous plans, including if you hook up with someone, where you’re going and how long. If you decide to leave a note, make sure this trusted person knows where you’ve left it.
- Take a buddy – when heading to and leaving your destination or waiting for transportation.
- Look alert – If you don’t have a travel buddy, stay alert, look alert, and stick near other people when walking or waiting for transportation.
- Watch your drink – Or buy your own, just make sure the only person mixing something into it is the bartender.
- Know your limits – If you’re planning on using substances, including alcohol, decide how much and try to stick to it.
- Be aware of surroundings – Locate 24 hour establishments to seek help if you feel unsafe. Move towards a “safer place,” like a more public space if you feel unsafe.
ASSERTING YOUR BOUNDARIES
- Your boundaries are beautiful – You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. “No” is a complete sentence!
- Use words – Alert bystanders and frighten (not anger) an assailant.
- Be direct – and assertive in your communication.
- Use body language – to show that you are serious, including eye contact.
- Make a safety plan and let someone else know.Tell at least one person about your plans, such as who you’ll be with, a way to get in touch with the person/people that you are meeting, meeting place, and what you plan to do. Plan in advance what will happen if you feel unsafe, such as where they will meet you and whether you want police called.
- Use your tech.Text yourself or friends about where you’ll be or where you are, the handle the person or persons use on the website or phone app. Include a picture of the person, and save messages when using websites and phone apps.
- Meet in public.Meeting in public allows for greater options for safety. If possible bring friends with you, as they can watch your back and give you their impressions. If the person doesn’t look like the picture, ask them about it. If they don’t have an answer you feel comfortable with, leave.
- Know your limits.If you’re going to use substances, including alcohol, consider deciding ahead of time when and how much you will use.
- Practice safer sex.If you think you may have sex, make it safer sex—bring safer sex supplies and use them. Diverse & Resilient has free safer sex supplies available at our table and can help you safety plan around how to ask your sex partner to engage in safer sex.
- Incidents of hook-up violence can happen in public spaces such as bars, sex/play parties, etc.Let friends, other patrons, or bar/nightclub staff know if you leave temporarily and when you intend to return. When you are outside, scan the street for establishments (such as a restaurant or car service) where you can go to seek help if you feel unsafe. Don’t leave any drinks or your belongings unattended. Discuss your interests and boundaries for sex, including BDSM before engaging.
- Trust your instincts.If you feel threatened or unsafe at any point, if at all possible exit the situation.
- You can say no.No matter who initiates or how far you’ve gone, you can stop at any time for any reason.
Getting support if violence does occur
- It’s not your fault.Nobody has the right to violate your boundaries or commit violence against you, no matter where it happens or how you met.
- Document the incident.Take photos of any injuries; keep records of emails, texts, calls.
- Consider medical attention or counseling after an incident.Violence can have many physical and emotional impacts. The Room to Be Safe program and Milwaukee Anti-Violence program have free and confidential counseling and support available. Milwaukee AVP has group sessions available.
- Call an LGBTQ Anti-Violence Program.The Room to Be Safe Anti-Violence Program and National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs are here to support LGBTQI and HIV-affected survivors of all forms of violence, including hook-up, dating, sexual, intimate partner, hate, and police violence. If you have witnessed or experience violence, contact us at: Contact Kathy Flores through Diverse & Resilient’s Room to Be Safe Anti-Violence Program: roomtobesafe.org or call 414-856-LGBT (5428) (resource line, not a hotline) or the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 24 Hour English/Spanish Hotline at 212-714-1141
- Take care of yourself.Utilize the help of supportive friends, partners and family.
These tips are suggestions for staying safer. If you experience violence it is not your fault, whether you follow these tips or not. The Room to Be Safe Anti-Violence Program and other members of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) brought these tips to you.
Many Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner hotlines will safety plan with victims , friends and family members — anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else involved in intimate partner violence.
FORGE created a safety planning tool can be used used as a guide for transgender and gender nonconforming people, by friends/peers, and by professionals who are helping a transgender person consider safety options while living in an abusive relationship or planning to leave one. For the PDF version, click here.