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ESCAPE ROUTES

August 30, 2015

It is not safe for a victim of abuse to go to a friend’s, sister’s or mother’s house. The abuser knows those addresses. A woman breaking free must find an alternate place for herself and her family. The further away from her former home, the better.

I just finished reading J. A. Jance’s novel, Remains of Innocence. In it, one of the victims uses an underground railroad for abused women to escape the villains and move across country. This underground doesn’t use trains, but long distance trucks to move the precious cargo. She is transferred between drivers at truck stops where she is also welcome to use the showers and computers and bunk down until her next ride arrives.  She rides in the sleeping portion of the cab away from prying eyes. It is all arranged by a shelter for abused women.

Since Jance’s novel is fiction, I don’t know if the truck railroad exists, but it’s a workable and wonderful idea. The novel set me to thinking about other industries that could aid an abused woman to break free and establish a new home far from her abuser. My first thought went to the commercial airlines. And what about industrial firms that have their own jets? Could taxi’s and limousine services give a free ride to someone leaving shelters?

Then there are the Amtrak or cross-country buses. A free ride with them may present a greater potential of exposure, but they could also offer her a view of the countryside to relax her. If her disguise is good enough, she can ride in the open without the fear of being found. Or a car rental service might have an arrangement with local shelters to rent cars free of charge to women breaking free.

It all starts with the shelters who take in abused women and the community that supports them. In the novel, a beauty salon created a disguise for the victim before sending her on to the truck stop. Other local industries can offer help, providing free clothing, cell phones and meals.

A veterinarian or animal rescue/foster group could offer to shelter the abused woman’s pets until she finds a new, safe, home for them. A few women’s shelters have facilities for pets, but most do not. Abused women do not dare to leave pets behind with their abusers. The abusers may beat or starve or even kill the animals to punish the victim for leaving.

Do you have other ideas on how an abused woman might break free and flee anonymously? Did you avail yourself of one of the methods I mentioned?  Or do you have other suggestions? If so, my readers and I would like to hear about your journey. Please respond to this post or email me at clw@clwoodhams.com

Peace,

C. L. Woodhams, author

The Outreach Committee, a multiple award winner

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