Domestic violence survivor, advocates speak out about issue

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind.-- Advocates are speaking out about the issue of domestic violence in the wake of a deadly shooting in Avon that police believe involved domestic violence.

Advocates say it takes on different forms and happens everywhere regardless of city, suburb or even social-economic status. Chances are someone you know is suffering from domestic violence as national statistics show one in three women are impacted.

"Domestic violence is a dirty little secret in a lot of areas of our society, people still don't talk about it," Sarah Hutchinson said.

The unspoken secret is one Hutchinson knows first hand. Looking at the educator, you can't see she's a survivor of domestic violence.

"I knew if I came back home that would be the last move I ever made," Hutchinson said.

She said it started out with accusations, then control and escalated.

"He always told me that he wasn't an abuser because he never punched my face, that didn't mean he didn't wrap his hands around my neck and try to strangle me, it didn't mean that he didn't try to break my arm, it didn't mean that he didn't slam me against the wall, " she said.

Hutchinson said though difficult, she escaped. One group she turned to was Prevail in Hamilton County. The organization helps victims of crime and domestic violence.

"I hear all the time when I tell them we see, last year almost 3500 clients here at Prevail and people's jaw drops and they typically say 'in Hamilton County? '," the executive director of Prevail, Susan Ferguson, said.

The issue knows no bounds of race, religion, sex or social economic status, and Ferguson said is far under reported.

"We dealt with a lot of people who don't want to call the police to her house, they don't want their neighbors to see the police outside the door, we also know that in a less urban area there are actually fewer resources," Ferguson said.

She said while sometimes people on the outside of a situation don't want to confront it, reaching out could mean the world to someone experiencing violence. And for Hutchinson, she hopes sharing her story as a survivor helps.

"The more we take a stand and say this is not okay the more we can put an end to it," Hutchinson said.

If you or someone you know needs help you can visit Prevail here or the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence here.