Survivor tells other domestic violence victims they're not alone

Survivor tells other domestic violence victims they're not alone

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - In the wake of two domestic violence situations this week that left three people dead, a local woman and survivor of domestic violence says there is hope.

On Monday, police said a woman was shot and killed by her husband before he turned the gun on himself.

Then on Thursday, police say a man firing a gun from the roof of his ex-wife's home was shot and killed by police after he tried to run them over.

Both incidents have Standing Courageous Director Paula Walters saying "enough is enough."

"I don't know who she was," said Paula, looking at a hospital picture of herself after being abused.

Paula is a survivor of domestic violence and says she hid her abuse until she was strangled in 2006.

After that, with a support system, she finally got herself out of a horrible situation.

"It came to that point where everybody knew, everybody knew what was happening to me and they gave me lots of resources. That's probably why I got out and I restored my faith in God," said Paula.

Now, she is using her story to help others - whether that's hosting talks at workplaces or educating police and firemen. The point is to talk about it - something she says people don't want to do.

"Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten and that's huge, every nine seconds!" said Paula.

She says it's not easy for victims to just leave.

"You know, when a woman leaves, she's 70 times more likely to be murdered in the first three weeks that she leaves," said Paula.

But she says if you're a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone and it is not your fault. Get help by reaching out to your local police department or emergency room or domestic violence shelter, like the Bethany House. Or contact Walters and her Standing Courageous team - several of whom have survived domestic violence.

"There's tons of different options that can get you where you need to get, you just have to make that first step and make that choice, like 'I'm going to not be a victim anymore,'" said Paula.

A victim of strangulation, Paula is also using Standing Courageous to urge Ohio lawmakers to support Monica's Law, which would make strangulation a felony offense in the state.

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