Why didn’t she leave? An expert and a domestic violence survivor explain

Published: April 27, 2017 11:25 PM EDT
Updated: April 27, 2017 11:26 PM EDT

If you’re a domestic violence victim who needs someone to talk to, here’s where you can call:

  • Lee County – (239) 939-3112

  • Charlotte County – (941) 627-6000

  • Collier County – (239) 775-1101

FORT MYERS, Fla. A glass door gave Tiffany Nemec a clear indication that she should leave her abusive relationship.

It happened at a shopping center. She met with her ex-boyfriend, who was just released from jail, so he could see his daughter.

“I ran into the Target to try and get away and he slammed my head into the sliding glass door,” she said.

She was told to press charges or have her 10-month-old daughter taken away.

“Somehow I knew that it would end badly if I did, but I wasn’t given the choice,” she said.

Limited choices place domestic violence victims in more danger, said Dr. Laura Streyffeler, who treats domestic violence victims.

“Research says that 70 percent of victims that get killed in violent relationships get killed when they leave, or shortly after they leave,” she said.

The controlling and abusive signs were there, but Nemec said they weren’t obvious at first.

He said she couldn’t wear makeup.

Then he said she couldn’t wear her clothes a certain way.

The physical abuse began when she became pregnant.

“A victim is beaten down before they are beaten up,” Streyffeler said.

Two days after the Target incident, Nemec was shot twice by her ex-boyfriend, who then turned the shotgun on himself.

Although it happened nine years ago, the memories are still fresh.

“For the longest time, every night I would relive what happened,” she said. “I still have the nightmares sometimes, not all the time anymore.”