"Cindy" is the face of domestic violence, but we cannot show her face because she fears for her safety. We changed her name and are blurring her image to protect her from her abuser.
"My ex (husband) tried to drown me. He choked me," said Cindy. "He broke my teeth. He broke my ribs. He broke my fingers. I had bloody lips. I had black eyes."
Cindy candidly opened up about a vicious cycle of abuse that goes back to her childhood. She even mentioned witnessing a traumatic event.
"My dad killed my brother," she said.
That torment carried over to her adult life, when Cindy met her husband who she said was friendly at first
"He was funny. He was caring. He was the kind that would open the door for you," she recalled.
Soon after they married, she said the beatings began, even to the point of causing a miscarriage.
"I had my twins. I lost my twins because he threw me down the stairs and that was really, really hard," she remembered.
Cindy tried numerous times to get away with her children over the course of her decade-long marriage. What made matters more challenging is the fact that she shared a bank account with her ex-husband that he would control.
She turned to friends for a safe place to stay, but he would eventually find her and bring her back home.
The abuse continued.
"He would have left me for dead if it wasn't for my neighbor who was downstairs and heard all the fighting and called 911," she said. "They would come so much, and still I couldn't get a restraining order because he was the father of the kids."
Cindy said it would take an attempted murder charge to put him behind bars, where just days ago she saw an opportunity and took her teenage son and got away for good.
While she is currently in hiding, she is safe for now, but she has a message to those who are in an abusive situation: "Get out and stay out because it's not worth going back," she said.
The number to the Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233. They can also point you out to a local group that can help.
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