#STAYSAFE: Domestic Violence - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

#STAYSAFE: Domestic Violence

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KENNEWICK, WA- Media headlines this last year have brought forward harsh truths about Domestic Violence, but the problem itself, has always existed.

High profile altercations like the Ray Rice case swarmed our brains in the last year but many people in our area also have similar stories.

"She was strong, very strong. Physically and mentally as well. It was very surprising, I didn't expect them to say she was killed. It was the last thing on my mind," explained Christina Sullivan.

Sullivan's daughter Shenay was beaten by her boyfriend and strangled to death. She was also pregnant.

"I put her, I put the baby in her arm. It was something. It was precious, it's very hard to think about," Sullivan shared the memory of laying her daughter to rest.

Susan Grace, a mother of four, left her husband after he locked himself in his room with a shotgun.

Grace tearfully explained she had, "Been through some tough stuff. But that takes the cake. The officers were brilliant, but looking back now, I just realize how critical my safety was, I was really gifted with a huge ton of grace on that day."

Often times partners only recognize the times where things are good, not when they're bad. Protecting yourself is one line of defense.

Greg DeRoos has taught women to defend themselves after they have been attacked. DeRoos also teaches Krav Maga both to men and women on a daily basis but said, "Men aren't afraid of women. I like to say you need to be vigilant about your own self defense. It's up to you to be the one that's going to be able to defend yourself. You can't rely on anybody else to be there for you."

Domestic Violence services of Benton and Franklin counties said self defense is not always an option.

"For every survivor, the options that they're looking for are very individual. Making a plan for how you end that relationship and leave is part of the process. For others, it's just figuring out how to increase your well being, how to increase your independence," explained Erinn Gailey at Domestic Violence Services.

"It's been five years now, so I can look back. I have been able to train my children and give them critical thinking skills. But on that day, I didn't realize how scary it was and how important it is to have a safety plan when you're leaving. Like I said, he never hit me, so it didn't even occur to me that I was in an abusive relationship," said Grace.

Advocates for help said the best way to help someone with their situation is to be there for them and not force them to make any harsh decisions.

Sullivan believes family and friends should know and ask, "What they're doing. Who they're with. If drugs are involved. I mean these are questions you need to know. Even though you're not gonna be able to figure out real easily how to get that information."

The toll free line for Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties is 1-800-648-1277. That line is open to victims that need help and family or friends that want to help a victim.


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