Finding Power


Stuff I’ve Never Told Anyone: Finding Power in the Shadow of Shame

Ms. Herisme (that’s me), has a tiny piece in print, as a contributor to this book.


The other contributors are varied in their stories of power and shame.  I encourage you to read all of them.

If you are so inclined, please consider purchasing this book and reviewing it on Amazon.

All profits from the sale of this book go to House of Ruth, Maryland (support services for victims of intimate partner violence/abuse).

Stay tuned, there is more coming soon!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo


How to Make a Safety Plan


First rule of Safety Planning:

If you believe that you (or a loved one) are in immediate danger –

forget the safety plan

CALL 911

go to a room with a quick escape

or, make yourself into a very small ball and cover your head with your arms

 If you are not in immediate danger, or if the danger has momentarily passed (and you are alive and able to physically function), take advantage of the “down time” or potential “honeymoon phase” in the cycle of abuse, and make your safety plan.

 Even if you do not feel like it or you are scared.


If you are witness to a loved one in an abusive situation, help them with their safety plan.  Being abused is very stressful and confusing, which makes it hard to concentrate on more than basic survival skills.  Be patient with us.  Be gentle with us.  Do not allow us to forget that you care.


 Stash Some Cash

No matter how short or long-term the plan is for extricating from an abusive situation, you are going to want some cash for gasoline, food, and possibly a hotel room.  The important part of this step is to make sure that you have some cash (not credit card, not in a bank account, not checks – actual physical cash).

Hide the cash away for yourself in a location or with a very trusted person, known only to you.  If you need ideas on where to hide cash, message me and I will help you.


Copy Everything

Get copies of all important documents

                        All Driver’s Licenses of any driver in the home

                        All Passports of anyone in the home

                        All Social Security Cards of anyone in the home

                        All Birth Certificates of anyone in the home

                        Passwords for computers/Wi-Fi/Phones/accounts etc

                        All joint and individual Credit Cards (front and back)

                        Recent Bank statements

                        Recent Tax Returns

                        Recent Mortgage statement

                        Recent Investment Accounts (including retirement accounts)

                        Recent Credit Card Statements

                        Recent Utility bills

                        Doctor/Dentist/Pediatrician/Therapist/School/Attorney  information

                        Medications of anyone in the home (take photos of the labels)

                        List of medical conditions of anyone in the home

                        List of Emergency Contacts (extended family, trusted friends, etc)

                        Pet information

            You can earnestly begin making a “Home Management Binder” to begin collecting this information into one location.  It’s useful to have it together in case of any emergency (not just a safety plan for an abusive situation).  If you cannot gather all of this information, start at the top of the list and work your way down through what is easily available and important to you.


Pack a Bag

Be very careful.  If an abuser gets a “heads up” that you might be preparing to leave, this may escalate the abuse into a very dangerous situation.  When the abuser is not around, find a small bag and pack some essentials, just in case you need to make a quick get-away.

            Clothes and toiletries for a few days for each person fleeing (you and possibly children) plus important document copies from above

            A comfort thing for each child (small stuffed toy, little blanket)


Know Where to Go

Map out where you might go (Domestic Violence shelter, trusted friend, trusted family member, etc)

Prepare an emergency email (if your account is absolutely secure) to send to trusted family and friends, which includes why you left the home and how they may contact you.

Write down your Safety Plan and give a copy to your trusted friend/pastor/family member/therapist.

Do NOT immediately disclose your location when you leave.  Even trusted family and friends will have a difficult time through this situation, and may inadvertently compromise your safety by trying to “help,” you.  Especially if they are not witness to the abuse (frequently they are not), or do not understand the cycle of abuse.  They may encounter the abuser in their contrite, charming, reformed phase of abuse and believe them to be safe.

The abuser is NOT a safe person. 

The abuser will NEVER be a safe person for you. 


Think of it this way.  If you had any control over the abuser and their actions, then they would not be abusing you – right?  No one would choose to be abused (I’m not talking about consensual role playing).  An abuser will always be abusive to you, it’s just a matter of degree.  That is your relationship with them – abuser and victim.  If you are looking for a different kind of relationship, you need to find a different person to have it with.  Likewise, if you want your abuser to stop abusing you, you have to leave and allow them to find a different relationship where they might have the potential to not be abusive.

With you, they are ALWAYS going to be the abuser. 



Don’t worry if you cannot accept this last bit.  I have many days where I still have to remind myself of that hard truth. That is another whole post though, dear reader.


So I’ll leave you with this:

Safety Plan

            Call 911 if in immediate danger

            Stash some Cash

            Copy Everything

            Pack a Bag

            Know Where to Go


Take good care of you.  The whole world is counting on it!


Love, Ms. Herisme xo


I am not a credentialed expert.  I am speaking about this through my own, and others I know, personal experiences.  Please call the National Domestic Violence hotline, or your local Domestic Violence Shelter for more information.  For other Safety Plan information, click here.

What to do, what to do…

WOWZA!  What an overwhelming response from the first post.

Thank you for all of your continued prayers, positive meditations and projections of protective light over us.  We are truly blessed in our extended communities of support.

I also received too many (one is too many) similarly awful tales that you were brave enough to share. I am paraphrasing one situation here, to protect your privacy:

“Thank you for sharing this. 

My husband threatened to kill me and our son too,

but then changed his mind because we weren’t worth going to jail for”

This is in our sweet little community and playing out

right underneath our noses

right now.

Most of you also reached out to ask what you could do to help.  YOU are brave and courageous to engage and ask.  I am not sure that if I were in your shoes, I could harness that bravery. Actually, I am fairly certain that I would not.  Not because I don’t care, but these situations are uncontrollably frightening: no pause button, no do-over, no Cliff’s notes, no IMBD preview, and no secure tidy ending.

If you are still with me, and wondering

What to do…


You must remember to put on your oxygen mask before assisting other passengers in this life, including children.  Without you having oxygen, you’re risking all of us perishing without your help.  And, we need your help.


Be respectfully relentless, if you have to.  In crisis, our decision making and perception compasses are off balance and we are often unable to determine situations for what they are, but feel as if we are keenly aware.  Remind us we are loved and how your words and actions are coming from a place of love.


We ALL struggle.  We ALL love.  We are ALL humans trying to be humans.  Sometimes, we ALL miss the mark.  No group of humans are not humans trying to be humans.  I am not suggesting to not have healthy boundaries/ideologies/values which guide your behaviors and life.  I am suggesting that once you place someone into “they are all scary and awful and hateful and the most terrible etc,” you have given yourself, and others, permission to treat another human in an inhumane way.  Stop doing that.

Stop giving up your responsibility to other humans. 

Pray for them. 

Send them positive light. 

Meditate on their human-ness.

This may seem contradictory to your awareness of someone being abusive or mistreated.  It is not. They are humans struggling without support. You might choose to not invite them into your home, or introduce them to your children, but you might choose to take an extra bag of toiletries to your local shelter this week, or donate to another local resource who is already servicing professional interventions. (for example, if you are driven to help overseas refugee children, find their local resource and donate to them – Red Cross, UNICEF etc)


Your friend that is in an abusive relationship needs professional help.  You can provide your friend with telephone numbers, or make those telephone calls yourself.  This is not dehumanizing your friend or the abuser.  Both your friend and the abuser need interventions other than what they are experiencing, professional interventions, before someone is hurt further.  Their intervention may include a religious leader, legal advisor, the police, social services, a judge, rehab, or some other mental health/professional intervention.  Make one of these professional intervention entities a recipient of your philanthropy, either with money or time.  They can use your support too.

Wouldn’t you rather donate to your local domestic abuse shelter so that they can provide adequate counseling and legal support, rather than donate $20 for a t-shirt at your friend’s 5K because they were murdered by an abuser? 

You are not responsible for the decisions that either your friend or the abuser make.  You can be responsible for knowing what resources are available in your community.  Believe me when I tell you, ALL of us know someone in, or has been in, an abusive relationship.  ALL OF US do.

Agencies you might want to be aware of:

Emergency Assistance                              911       (call for ANY suspected emergency situation)

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)  (multilingual/ confidential)

National Alliance on Mental Illness 1.800.950.2624  (confidential)



– the grocery store, your library, the salon, the gym, etc and see if there is a brochure or list of community services for people in crisis, available there.  If there is not, contact one of your local agencies (domestic violence shelter, non-emergency police number, food bank) and see where you might volunteer to distribute their list of resources, or to put a list together.  I bet your local library has a community resource brochure or web page.  If not, ask to volunteer there to put one together, then distribute it to the community areas that you frequent.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and interest in helping.  You are the key to our living, not just surviving.

Love, Ms Herisme and Son Heishim