Women's advocates: Escaping an abuser easier said than done - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Women's advocates: Escaping an abuser easier said than done

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If you look hard enough, the warning signs of criminal domestic violence are usually there. For Tamika Sims, it was an ongoing cycle of abuse, but there came a moment when she knew it was now or never.

"He had gone to the kitchen and grabbed a knife," said Sims. "I knew then that it was time for me to leave the relationship, that it was not a healthy situation for me to remain in, or for my son, and so that was the last straw for me."

But she didn't just leave, she had to think about just how far he might go to find her. Sims needed resources, support from her family, and money to never look back.

"I put code words in place for my son in case anything ever happened at the house. I had pre-recorded text messages in case I ever need to send a 911 message, and then I also went to court and filed a restraining order," said Sims.

Sims is quick to point out that things have could have ended differently. Her story could be one we hear and read about -- a woman strangled or stabbed and left for dead.

"That could have easily been me," said Sims. "I could have easily been found the next morning by my mom or my son, and so I'm grateful that I am alive, but I do know there are so many out there that aren't able to see the next day."

Over at Sistercare, they know all too well how hard it is for women to leave, but they want women to know they can get out.

"Call and speak with someone and begin thinking about what they want to do and what is safer for them," said Nancy Barton, Sistercare executive director. "In no way do we tell them what to do or tell them they need to leave immediately. That can be the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when leaving or telling the abuser that the victim is going to leave."

If you are in an abusive situation, getting out of it requires plenty more than just calling a hotline, but often times it is the first step you reach.

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