Editor’s Note: Victim’s name changed to protect identity of her and her family.
Lisa Chavez lived a life of horror and fear for many years. Even today, she exercises extreme caution when she steps out of her home.
Chavez shared her story during the Domestic Violence Vigil held this past Saturday at Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church. Sponsored by U Care, the vigil was held to spread awareness on an issue many families across the country are living with everyday.
For nine years, Chavez endured the physical and mental abuse of her husband. Living in fear, the young mother finally left her abuser, only to face harsh consequences that nearly took her life. Chavez’s husband made many verbal threats to kill his wife and one day attempted to make the threat come true.
“I had gone to work and he called and said he was going to drop off the kids,” Chavez said.
Once outside to meet her husband, he pulled a gun, eventually putting four bullets into his wife’s body. Injured and full of bullet holes, Chavez managed to run to the doors of the building she worked in, and after being airlifted to a hospital, survived her injuries out of sheer determination.
“I kept asking God to keep me here for my kids,” Chavez shared.
As Chavez shared her story, she fought back tears.
“You can break the cycle,” she added. “It’s very painful and emotional feelings you have when trying to break the cycle, but you can do it.”
Her husband, still eluding prosecution, had been issued a order at the time of the shooting, to stay away from his wife and children, but continued making verbal threats and stalking Chavez.
According to Clinton Police chief Jay Tilley, seven out of 10 assault investigations that his department responds to are domestic situations. Half of these incidents result in some type of injury.
“It often starts with threats or stalking,” Tilley said. “Many victims do not do anything out of fear or not knowing what to do.”
Tilley said his department works diligently to educate the public on what action to take when someone is being assaulted domestically.
“While the police department has come a long way, there is still a lot of work to do,” Tilley added.
U Care board member Carol Worley said there are more cases of domestic violence occurring on Sampson County than residents and law enforcement officers are aware of happening.
“The more we can create awareness, we can improve situations in our community,” Worley shared.
Saturday’s vigil was in memory of the more than 65 lives that have been lost in Sampson County to domestic violence situations. A learned behavior, Chavez, as well as law enforcement officials, urged those who are a part of the domestic violence to end the cycle.
Chavez said her children, like many others who are subjected to domestic violence, have been greatly affected by her husband’s actions. While the violence has made an impact on all of their lives, she said her son has struggled the most in dealing with the situation.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.