By Nora Hood
Domestic violence in the U.S. is considered somewhat of an epidemic. To give those words more meaning, consider this startling statistic: During the period of 2001 and 2012, 6,488 American troops were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, but 11,766 women were murdered by an ex or partner — nearly double the number than the casualties of a war. Every day at least three women are killed by their partners. While females make up the bulk of the abuse (85 percent versus 15 percent of men), domestic violence is a serious problem that affects all sexes, races, and ages. If you were fortunate enough to get out of your situation before a potential fatality, it’s likely that you are having a hard time living life in a normal manner as you’re at risk for issues like anxiety, paranoia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The road ahead may not be easy, but you at least want to feel safe when you are at home. Consider making a few budget-friendly modifications so you can rest easy morning, noon, and night.
Add Extra Locks: Believe it or not, it’s harder to find a 100 percent secure lock than you may think, so your best measure of defense is to have more than one lock on interior and exterior doors. There are several options ranging from traditional deadbolt to modern smart locks, but both come with pros and cons so be sure to do your research. For example, grade one locks are more difficult to disable, smart locks are more expensive than other options, etc. Another detail that should not go unnoticed is your doorframe. Weak, hollow-core doors may not outlast the lock, so make sure you purchase a heavy-duty metal box strike to support the lock.
Install A Home Security System
The average cost to install a home security system hovers around $739. While a monitoring device is no doubt an investment, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. According to Angie’s List, “Today’s home security systems are far more advanced, and homeowners can now choose from a wide range of security options, such as around-the-clock monitoring and video surveillance.” Make sure you compare which devices would be most suitable for the size and location of your home. After it’s installed, remove any mirrors that reflect the alarm service from the outside — an intruder will be able to see when it’s disarmed.
Keep Your Landscaping In Check
Avoid placing any large bushes and shrubs in front of your windows as they only create a hiding area for a potential intruder.
Manage Drug And Alcohol Use
Women who were abused are 15 times more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs than the general population, so keep recreational substances out of your home to avoid temptation. Instead, put your energy into making your home feel calm and cozy. Paint the walls in soothing hues of green or blue; add plants; keep de-stressing aromatherapy on hand; integrate soft lighting options or install dimmer switches, etc.
Add Light Timers
You may not always be around to manage your indoor and outdoor lighting, so install timers so it always appears as though there’s some form of activity coming from your abode. It also gives you peace of mind that you don’t need to come home to a dark home.
It is likely that you will need a combination of coping methods to help you feel more safe and confident. Take whatever measurements necessary — and for as long as needed. There is no timeline for the healing process associated with domestic violence.
About Nora Hood and Three Daily
Nora Hood writes on behalf of ThreeDaily.org. The mission of Three Daily is to raise awareness about the devastation domestic violence is causing in our communities by connecting and engaging with those seeking information about, writing about, and speaking out about domestic violence.