Victim of domestic violence speaks out; hopes to inspire others to seek help
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month.
According to TBI, in 2016 there were more than 78,000 domestic violence reports across the Volunteer State. The highest numbers in our area: 1,827 in Sullivan County and 958 in Washington County.
Advocates said more than half of the people who they see never file a police report. That means there are thousands of victims who aren't getting the help they need or the justice they deserve.
So this month, law enforcement, advocates and even victims are speaking up to try to change that.
"It was bad enough having my daughter see me," Chrissy Anderson said. Anderson spent more than a month, hiding in her home, covered in bruises.
"Most of the punches were to my face," she said. Her boyfriend of six years, punching and kicking her until she was nearly unconscious.
"I was kind of going in and out. I just thought I'm going to die and I just kept saying over and over in my head, God please don't let me die," Anderson said.
She shared these pictures with News 5. As she remembers that day in March, four years ago, Anderson said it started with just little arguments throughout the day, including spilled ketchup. But it ended with her, knocked to the ground.
"He stood there after he hit me a few times and said if I'm going to go to jail, I'm going to go to jail for a reason," she said. "I'm going to kill you."
Anderson said when he wasn't looking, she escaped and got help. But even after the bruises faded, she was left with a lot of questions.
"You go through a million things trying to figure out why, why why," she said.
Advocate Mariah Sybert said those feelings of shame and self-doubt are normal. And it's what keeps a lot of victims from speaking up.
"Her case is rare that she was so brave and courageous to walk away the first time," Sybert said.
Anderson turned to the Family Justice Center in Sullivan County to share her story. She hopes she can turn her nightmare into a story of inspiration for other victims to ask for help before it's too late.
"It's hard. It's a hard thing to go through but you can. And you can get justice," Anderson said.
Anderson did press charges. It took about a year for her case to make it through the court system. But she said it was worth it because the man who assaulted her was sentenced to six years in prison.