Advocates focus light on deadly potential of domestic violence

Survivor says even 25 years later sharing story 'brings nightmares back'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A domestic violence survivor helping to raise awareness about the issue said Tuesday that even 25 years later, sharing her story “brings the nightmares back.”

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Hubbard House and several partners, including the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, joined forces to shed light on the issue.

“This is a serious crime. We're talking about violence and terrorism within the context of the home, within the context of a relationship and that it can be very deadly if you can't get help,” said Gail Patin, CEO of Hubbard House, a local domestic violence shelter.

The survivor, who News4Jax is not naming for her own safety, had important words for people who might find themselves in a similar situation to her own.

“(Do) not believe what your abuser says. Know that there is help. Develop a good support system,” she said. “I was very blessed. I had a very great support system when I left. You can stand on your own and life is so much better. It's day and night.”

According to a fatality report, Duval County reported 13 domestic violence related deaths last year, with 12 involving intimate partners. Domestic violence advocates encourage victims to take the first steps. 

"They're not alone. They have been told so often that nobody is going to believe them. But if they call the hotline -- 1-800-500-1119 -- they will get a counselor on the other end -- from wherever is closest to where they're calling -- who will listen to them, will tell them what their options are and who will believe them,” Patin said. “There is hope, and there is help available."

Hubbard House will have a #DetectDV social media campaign this month that will provide questions to help loved ones spot signs of domestic violence in intimate partner relationships. You can retweet their posts to spread the word.

The organization also encourages victims to call the hotline at 1-800-500-1119, if they need help. 

Resources for domestic violence victims are available throughout Northeast Florida:

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