SALT LAKE CITY – A report put out this week by the Utah Domestic Violence Council details 29 domestic violence-related deaths in 2012, lives lost that they say could have been prevented.
Tonya Lemus says she was emotionally and physically abused for 25 years. She feared for her life and the lives of her children, forcing her to flee and seek help.
“It was horrible. It was one of the worst experiences I have ever had,” Lemus said.
The state of Utah has resources for victims – both men and women – of domestic violence; resources that are free and possibly life-saving.
“We do protective orders, stalking injunction, advocacy. We go to court with the women,” said Annette McFarlan with the Box Elder New Hope Crisis Center.
Other free resources include counseling services, transportation, childhood therapy and housing. And anyone who needs help – even just to ask questions – can do so without worry of getting their identity revealed.
“Everything that happens at the shelter stays at the shelter.-We have high degrees of confidentiality. We have two priorities: confidentiality and safety,” McFarlan said.
Lemus now wants to be an advocate and example to other victims. She says she survived thanks to free domestic violence services that proved to be priceless.
“Help those that need it. Nobody should have to live unsafe and nobody has the right to take anybody’s life. Let’s help our community be a safer, happy, healthy community,” Lemus said.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the Domestic Violence Link Line at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).