As you are reading this post, you may be frightened for your life and the lives of your children. Whether you have been able to admit it to yourself, you know it is true in the back of your mind: you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence.
You have been afraid to breathe those words – domestic violence – for quite some time now. For whatever reason, you have refused to believe it could be true.
Maybe you have been silent out of self-preservation. Once the secret is out, will you be safe from your husband? Or, will you be in even more danger?
You may have refused to admit the truth because you are in denial. You may be thinking: “Surely he wouldn’t abuse me. After all, he loves me. He told me so. Maybe, I am to blame for the emotional and the physical abuse. Maybe, I deserve it.”
Stop right there
I don’t want you to think that way anymore.
Even writing those words makes me cringe. I only do it now because I know too many women think those very thoughts. They blame themselves for their pain and suffering. They may even think they deserve to be treated as a scapegoat.
This is not abnormal behavior for a woman, who has found herself in an abusive relationship. In fact, this is very normal. But just because it is normal doesn’t mean that it is right.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I urge you to seek help.
You are not alone
I love Charleston for many reasons, but there is one thing about South Carolina that I do not love. When it comes to criminal domestic violence, South Carolina is ranked #1 in the country.
In South Carolina, women are most likely to be killed by their partner, according to an August article — “Till Death Do Us Part” – in the Charleston Post and Courier. As our previous attorney general Henry McMaster said, criminal domestic violence has become South Carolina’s worst crime problem.
You can rest assured that you are not alone. There are many other silent sufferers in Charleston. There are also a number of organizations in South Carolina that are dedicated to protecting you and helping you find the strength and courage to get yourself safely out of your abusive relationship.
The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) helps coordinate the efforts of 22 domestic violence and sexual assault organizations. I encourage you to visit the Coalition’s website, where you will find many useful resources.
How do you know if you are being abused or not?
Each woman’s situation is unique. Women often do not realize that they are being abused. Some women think that, if they are not being physically beaten, they are not being abused. However, the truth is that domestic violence comes in many forms. Abusers have many tactics that they use to control their victims.
Here are some of the common abusive tactics:
- He intimidates you through his looks or gestures, by smashing things, abusing your pets, or displaying weapons.
- He emotionally abuses you by putting you down, making you think that you are crazy, making you feel guilty, or calling you names.
- He isolates you by controlling what you do and where you go, and by using jealousy as grounds for justification of his actions.
- He minimizes, denies, or blames you for his abusive behavior.
- He uses your children to get at you by threatening to take them away or using them as a go-between.
- He asserts his “male dominance” by treating you like a servant and making all the important decisions in the house.
- He uses money to abuse you by preventing you from getting or keeping a job, giving you an allowance, or making you ask for money.
- He uses threats, like threatening to divorce you or to commit suicide.
- And much, much more… click here for a more detailed list of abusive behaviors.
If you are experiencing any of these behaviors in your relationship, you could be the victim of domestic abuse.
You deserve a better life. You deserve a life free of fear, pain, and suffering.
Where can you go to get help?
Here is a list of resources where you may find help:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a toll-free hotline (1-800-799-7233) and an excellent blog that offers support and stories from survivors.
- The Victim Services Unit of the Mount Pleasant Police Department and Hands on Health have compiled lengthy lists of resources for residents of Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and the surrounding Lowcountry.
- Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse (CODA) is an organization that provides shelter and counseling to residents of the Lowcountry. Call 843-770-1070 for more assistance.
- The South Carolina Women’s Shelters has identified shelters for women in Charleston, North Charleston, and Summerville.
If you are in an abusive relationship, it is possible that your activity is being monitored. For this reason, battered women are often afraid to seek help on their own computers or phones. If you are concerned about even going to these websites, most of the domestic violence sites have a safety feature built in that allows you to navigate quickly away from the site.
Criminal domestic violence is a problem that I cannot ignore. As a divorce lawyer in Charleston, SC, I have seen the heartbreaking effects of domestic abuse. I have represented battered women seeking a divorce to flee their broken marriages and save themselves and their children. Domestic violence affects women in every community from Kiawah Island to Summerville, Monck’s Corner to Mt. Pleasant, and Daniel Island to Charleston.
If you think you are in an abusive relationship, please call me. As an experienced Charleston divorce attorney, I will listen to your story and help you and your children build a better life—free of pain, fear, and suffering. You deserve that.
Depending on the circumstances of your particular situation, you may be able to file for a fault-based divorce due to the domestic violence and to get a court order of protection to prohibit your spouse from having any contact with you.
Call me now at 843-631-7117. There is no charge for the initial consultation.