Domestic violence has become such a significant crisis in the United States that the entire month of October is dedicated to its awareness. For those who are battered, it can seem like an impossible situation to escape. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that “More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”
North Carolina law defines domestic violence as attempting to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury, or placing a victim or a member of the victim’s family or household in fear of serious bodily injury or continued harassment that inflicts substantial emotional distress. The definition includes stalking, rape and sexual offenses. Epperson Law Group, PLLC wants victims of spousal domestic violence to know that they are not alone, and that we are here to help you.
Signs of domestic violence
These are not the signs of an average fight between two people. Couples can get mad at each other and say terrible things. They can dislike one another’s friends, or argue about finances – and, in fact, they often do. When these arguments and the anger are systemic, however, or become physically violent, what you first believed was a one-off fight could actually indicate domestic violence. Aside from physical abuse, some other signs of intimate partner abuse can include:
- Coercion and threats of physical harm
- Emotional and verbal abuse
- Isolating you to make it easier to hide the impending physical abuse
- Asserting perceived authority over you
- Controlling your movements/schedule
- Controlling your social life and activities
- Forcing you into economic dependence
Getting the help you need to start your new life
Admitting that you are being abused is not an easy process, we know. Saying the words aloud can make it “real,” and in cases where no physical harm has been caused, victims may not even realize that they are victims. Family members and loved ones may not recognize the signs, either. If you are being abused, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your children.
Before filing for divorce, take the necessary steps to safely begin exiting your marriage. There are various types of safety planning to consider, but these are some of the basic steps:
- If your computer and phone use are monitored, try to use a public computer or phone to communicate with safety resources.
- Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children and pets including clothing, money, medications, important papers, photo ID, leashes, pet carrier, and anything else you can pack without it being noticeable that it’s missing.
- Officially report the abuse to police and obtain a restraining order.
- Speak with a qualified family law attorney who understands the delicate and dangerous nature of your situation.
- If you do not have the financial resources to secure another place to live, locate a shelter for you and your children.
Marriage is intended to be a partnership of mutual love, caring and respect. When one spouse feels compelled to control the other through abusive, destructive measures, it becomes an unhealthy, volatile situation. The attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC are well versed in handling delicate cases in a caring and professional manner for clients in the Charlotte, Boone and Weddington areas. If you or a loved one have experienced spousal domestic violence and have decided it’s time to get out, speak with one of our compassionate divorce attorneys by calling 704-321-0031 or reach out to us through our contact form.