A courageous woman is no longer victimized by an abusive partner Read how she used her harrowing experience to start an online shop and help others in the process

Released on: February 17, 2008, 7:00 am

Press Release Author: Some Like it Vintage

Industry: Small Business

Press Release Summary: Romantic Homes Magazine spotlights the first in a series of
features about worthy causes we commend. By Jickie Torres.

Press Release Body: Clicking away at her office computer, Veronica Cizmar\'s life in
Toronto, Canada, has slowly returned to normal. She has her own business, Some Like
it Vintage, an online boutique and consignment shop to keep her busy and fulfilled.

The site features only authentic period items, and 10 percent of the Web site\'s
sales help women subjected to domestic violence--something Veronica knows only too
well. Just five years ago, she found herself in a whirlwind romance that would
ultimately leave her a victim of abuse.

In the summer of 2002, Veronica met a businessman who said he was visiting the
Canadian city for a meeting. Charming, handsome and seemingly well-connected, he
claimed ties to many powerful forces in the U.S. Maintaining he was a first cousin
of President Bush, Bruce had all the visible merits to confirm his stories: the
clothes, the belongings, the persona and, at times, the entourage.
\"Bruce said he was, in fact, the head of the Bush family,\" Veronica says. Ominously,
he told her that, \"there was no divorce in his family; the only way out was by
death-accident, natural cause or otherwise.\"

By October, the two friends began dating and, swept off her feet, Veronica accepted
his marriage proposal just two-and-a-half weeks later.

Almost immediately the atmosphere changed. Bruce turned aggressive, hostile and
\"He had not touched me in any way yet. It was his attitude and demeanor that were
becoming more and more aggressive and threatening; not just to me, but to
others-waiters, concierge, strangers, family and friends,\" she says. Soon, he
asserted further connections to the American mafia.

Bruce, like many abusers, had cultivated a convincing life story and, like many
victims, level-headed Veronica had been given all the evidence she needed to believe
him. Despite gut feelings telling her to flee, Veronica soon became a prisoner,
forced to stay in the relationship believing Bruce had the power and influence to
harm her or her family.

The brutality began no long after Bruce had moved into Veronica\'s apartment. It was
less than a month after their engagement when he came home brandishing a gun, hard
proof he had the means to kill her if she ever tried to leave him. Lying on Bruce\'s
orders, she told her family and friends that gambling and addiction problems had
forced Bruce to take her on a trip to recover and rehabilitate. He sequestered her
from anyone who could help her. The beating was violent and tortuous, as Bruce would
systematically wear her down with hits, cuts, burns and sleep deprivation. \"He would
tie me to a pillar in the room, duct tape me and whip me with leather belts, make me
stand at the foot of the bed and not let me sleep,\" she says. \"This would go on for

It was that way for the rest of their 18-month-long relationship, with Veronica held
captive alone or forced to accompany Bruce to business meetings and errands.

\"I had to have my cell phone with me at all time,\" she says. \"During the last three
months he was mostly out of the house, and I was too terrified to leave. When he did
come home he would torture me. My house was bugged, and my internet activities and
phones calls were monitored. I was in a complete state of panic.\"

Emotionaly and physically drained, Veronica had neither the strength nor the mental
fortitude to leave. It was only by chance that due to allegations by his business
partner and one-time foster brother regarding fraud, extortion and threats to his
own family that an investigation on those charges led police to Veronica and the
subsequent awareness of her abuse.

\"Police officers showed up with a search warrant,\" Veronica says. They were on a
hunt for papers that proved Bruce had been stealing money from his business,
threatening others and lying about his withholdings.

\"As I read the warrant, everything fell into place,\" she says. \"I was still
terrified, but I was convinced to hand over the keys to a closet where all of
Bruce\'s papers were.\" Veronica had finally been given access to Bruce\'s true
identity. Instead of ties with American business dealings and political families,
there was a long record of criminal activity and records indicating that, among
other things, he was Canadian, married to another woman and had a second fiance in
another part of town.

\"This was the day I was free from Bruce,\" she says. \"during my seven hour interview
that night I spoke for the first time about the torture and violence. That was when
the police were able to add 13 more charges to his arrest.\"

It\'s been five years since the ordeal began, and Bruce is behind bars serving a
15-year sentence. For Veronica, every day has been a process of growth and healing.
In 2004 she started selling vintage goods on eBay with a friend as a hobby. The next
year she took the company solo and turned it into Some Like it Vintage. In addition
to the funding she helps provide for local shelters, Veronica also works closely in
Toronto with Redwood Women\'s shelter, volunteering her time to help prepare meals
and talk with the women there.

Therarpy for her anxiety and post traumatic stress, and karate classes to help her
deal with aggression, have brought Veronica to a place where all she wants is to
focus on her future. She hopes to eventually turn her online shop into a
brick-and-mortar one. She wants to share her story through talks at local high
schools and in a series of articles she hopes to write.

\"My goal is educating women to rely more on themselves, to be more confident,\" she
says. Though she always knew she was intelligent and self-assured, she regrets not
heeding her gut. \"I fell into what I did partly because of not following my gut
feeling...I hope to teach people how to recognize the signs of anybody who might be
taking advantage of them. The more I can do the better.\"

For more information or to contribute to Some Like it Vintage, visit

Web Site: http://www.somelikeitvintage.com

Contact Details: Some Like it Vintage
P.O. Box 303, Station \'D\'
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
M9A 4X3


Veronica Cizmar, Owner

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