The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as a pattern of coercion and control by one party in an intimate relationship against the other. Domestic abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional or economic offenses. As is common knowledge, situations of domestic abuse often become dangerous and even deadly. According to the coalition, there were 20 family violence homicides in North Carolina from January 1 through July 24, 2010.
While the notion of leaving an abusive relationship may seem unthinkable due to children, financial and emotional dependency or fear of reprisal, escaping the cycle is the only way to ensure your safety and that of your children in the future. Mothers who leave their abusive partners often face a fearful and uncertain future. The family attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt explain that it is important to face those fears and to get out of an abusive and dangerous relationship.
A soon-to be published study on the mental health of mothers who leave an abusive relationship has found that the women experience depression and high levels of anxiety for at least two years after they leave the relationship. Researchers from Ohio State University found that women who leave abusive relationships have a long road to recovery. The study was conducted by Kate Adkins, a doctoral student at Ohio State, and Claire Kamp Dush, assistant professor of human development and family science at OSU. Their results are currently online in the journal, Social Science Research and will soon be published in the print edition. The information on the study was made available via press release from the Research Communications department of Ohio State University.
Mothers who leave abusive relationships face tremendous stress and anxiety, states Adkins. “Even though getting out of the relationship may be good in the long run, they first have to deal with multiple sources of stress, including financial problems, single parenting and sharing custody with the abuser.”
The divorce attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt make clear that the high levels of stress should not deter these mothers from leaving a dangerous situation. Women suffering domestic violence need to understand that there will be light at the end of the tunnel and that seeking social support is a good way to stay on the right track. In the study, Kamp Dush said: “What our results mean is that these women still need a lot of support and a lot of services even after they leave.” The study found that abused women who had more social support fared better at the end of an abusive relationship than those who did not.
The researchers speculate the high levels of stress post-separation are the result of a variety of factors. Even after they leave the relationship, mothers who have been abused are still required to communicate with the abuser because of the shared child. Findings showed approximately half of the abused women whose relationship ended saw the father at least once a week. A mere 25 percent of the women were able to reduce contact to a few times a year or less.
The North Carolina family law attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt acknowledge that high levels of stress impact mothers after they leave abusive relationships. However, this stress should not prevent the domestic violence victim from leaving the relationship. As the study authors point out, safety concerns should eclipse the anxiety and stress.
Family law attorneys from the Raleigh law firm of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt, have dedicated their lives to being advocates for the rights of victims of domestic violence. The firm’s attorneys are dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence and are skilled and very experienced in family law issues such as custody, child support and alimony. GWH offers knowledge, skill and experience in the many areas of family law that is second to none.
To contact the family lawyers of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt, call them at 866-362-7586, or visit their website at www.gailorwallishunt.com.
Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, PLLC
Divorce is Tough – So Are We
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