At the Law Office of Kristen L. Campbell, LLC, we understand that it can be difficult for anyone to file for divorce, regardless of the circumstances. For Ohio residents who are trapped in abusive marriages, their situations may seem hopeless. You should understand that although it may be hard to leave your abuser, it is possible with the right support system and an escape plan.
As you may know, abusers use a variety of tactics to keep their partners under their control. Your spouse may threaten to harm you, your children or your pets. You may have had emotional tactics used against you, such as isolation, belittling, gaslighting and manipulation. You may believe your spouse will harm you if you attempt to leave, or that you may not be able to make it on your own. The National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends abuse victims have an escape plan, so they may reduce their risk of harm and gain tools to help them succeed. An escape plan may include the following:
- Gaining job skills or education
- Saving up emergency cash in a secure place the abuser isn’t aware of
- Enlisting help from trusted family members and friends
- Knowing the locations and phone numbers of domestic violence shelters
- Gathering evidence of abuse, such as photos of injuries and screenshots of abusive text messages
When you are ready to leave, you may wish to seek a protective order, which forbids your abuser to contact or approach you and your children until a court hearing. You may also find it helpful to seek therapy to learn how to break the cycle of abuse and avoid being re-victimized. As our page on domestic violence explains, escaping an abusive marriage is easier when you have allies on your side.