Domestic violence survivor encourages victims to leave abusive relationships

Updated: Dec. 27, 2016 at 8:32 PM CST
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MARSHALL COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A domestic violence agency in Marshall County says they lost four people to domestic violence this year. That's why they're encouraging victims to get help before it's too late.

Kelly's Rainbow serves hundreds of domestic violence victims in Marshall, Cherokee and DeKalb counties every year. In 2016, three women and a man they helped were killed by their abusers.

One survivor says it's never easy to walk away but it's worth it. Jessica Dunnavant used to be married to her abuser for seven years.

"He'd been hitting me for a while," said Dunnavant. "The abuse was continuous."

After her ex-husband punched his 17-year-old daughter, Dunnavant finally got the courage to leave the relationship.

"He hit her, busted her lip, which is what opened my eyes and made me want to get out of the situation," she said.

She eventually turned to Kelly's Rainbow and stayed there for about three months. She now praises Kelly's Rainbow for helping her rebuild her life.

"Most of the staff there have been in the situation that their clients are, and I think that's what makes it work so well," she said.

Dunnavant now has a home for her kids and a stable job.

She said leaving an abusive relationship is difficult to do.

"Abusers try to make their victims feel like they're alone, there's nobody there for them, there's nobody that can love them," she said. "And there's always somebody out there willing to help them you just have to make that step."

She took that step two years ago and never looked back.

"It's hard. It's one of the hardest things I've done in my life, but it's so worth it," she said.

Kelly's Rainbow also works with Crisis Services of North Alabama.

For help, click here for Domestic Violence Crisis Services or here for Crisis Services of North Alabama.

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