Victims of domestic violence may endure years of abuse and manipulation before they finally leave. Some victims never leave, and families can suffer an immeasurable loss as a result. We recently read a story about a 20-year-old woman named Berfin Ozek, who had acid thrown on her by her ex-boyfriend when she left him. She is now permanently disfigured and only has 30% vision. The man, Casim Ozan Celtik, attacked her, citing that if he could not be with her, then no one else could. This is a classic line used by many abusive partners.
While the couple was not romantically involved at the time of the attack, they were in communication, which led to the argument. Casim was arrested after the attack as Berfin pressed charges. Casim was sentenced to 13.5 years in prison but was released on probation due to a law change.
However, like most manipulative partners, he began to love bomb the woman and ultimately convinced her to marry him. The family is heartbroken and concerned. We are saddened, but we are not surprised. While this specific action – throwing acid – is uncommon, this level of disfiguring abuse is not.
It can seem as if the victim is in complete control of their actions to the outside world, but they often are not. We must consider that many victims of domestic abuse are stuck in these relationships. Their abusers know how to emotionally and psychologically take control of them. Even when a victim leaves, it can be dangerous and even deadly. It can be challenging to leave an abusive partner when you do not have a stable support system. It is important to create a safe space for victims to flee to. It is also essential to take legal action with the help of a Charlotte domestic violence attorney.
Can you leave a toxic relationship safely?
While this case is heartbreaking, and we all fear for the outcome of this relationship, it is not unique. There are hundreds of cases where men and women are abused and cannot leave their partners. We have seen cases where one partner shoots the other, and they still stay. While there is no way to take away the pain of the past, we can advise you on ways you can leave safely. Everyone around you will have their thoughts and opinions and will often say, “just leave.” We understand it is not that easy. Just leaving can lead to more harm. You will instead need a plan and strategy to exit safely, more so when children are involved.
Deciding to leave is step one, which is often the hardest step. Anyone can find themselves in an abusive relationship. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) has found that romantic partners have abused one in four men and one in three women. You must remember that these relationships do not start abusive but often begin like any other happy and healthy relationship. The abuser will begin to shed their skin as time goes on until the victim cannot even remember who they are dating.
Preparing to leave an abusive relationship? Here’s your checklist
There are several steps to take to leave an abusive partner safely. The first step is to have support. It is tough to leave without a support system. You need to have somewhere to go and people to talk to about your concerns. Abuse victims can find help from family, friends, or a local shelter.
The next phase is planning out your exit strategy. Your safety is a top priority, and you need to ensure you consider that when planning your exit. Remember that you will need cash because many abusers will cut off victims financially to lure them back into the home. You need to begin to collect:
- Bank information
- Identification cards
- Birth certificates
- School records and degrees
- Child identification and vaccination records
Any documentation necessary for starting over needs to be taken with you. Chances are, once you leave, it will be complicated to get these items from your abuser. If you have a beloved pet, work with your support system to have adequate care for an extended period. It can take some time to settle into your new life. Many victims do not leave because they fear for their pet’s safety and well-being. Pets are part of the family, they are in danger too, and they need an escape plan.
The element of surprise is crucial to your departure. Only inform necessary parties of what the plans are. If you have children, you may also need to keep them in the dark.
Lastly, commit yourself that even though you are scared, you will go through with this. Own your fear and walk away forever. Fear is a common emotion for abuse victims, but it should not be why you stay. Your abuser will use fear to manipulate you into staying. They will threaten you with financial strife and even say they will take away your children. If you go back, they will win, and nothing will change. Work with your support system and remember the promise you made to yourself.
Should I hire a lawyer to help me?
When you decide to leave, it is important to take legal precautions. You don’t have to hire a lawyer to take them, but there are things we have experience doing that may be new to you, and now is not the time to take chances with your rights. For example, you should immediately file a restraining order so your former partner cannot contact you. Legal action will also help with parenting time and custody. In some cases, you could be entitled to alimony during the divorce process. You can rely on us to help you.
We understand that leaving requires strength. Leaving can be the hardest decision of your life and one that you cannot take lightly. Epperson Law Group, PLLC, can help you get through the legal battle ahead while you settle into your new life. Call our office at 704-321-0031 or submit our contact form to speak with our Charlotte domestic violence attorney today. We maintain additional offices in Boone, Concord, and Weddington, and all consultations are confidential. We do everything in our power to ensure your safety and security during our consultation.