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Domestic violence victim

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Thousands are victims of domestic violence every year in the panhandle.

A victim we'll call "Monica" says she lived through mental and physical abuse for 10 years. Monica, who escaped her situation about a year and a half ago, recalls the first time she was attacked by her then boyfriend.

Monica says, "It was very traumatic because he was choking me. He was on top of me choking me. And I mean that was very real because I was at the point to where I just knew I wasn't going to come out of that."

She says the violence escalated during an argument over him cheating on her. Monica says, "After that, it comes the remorse... Then you think as a woman, oh things will change. You know, this was just a one time instance, but it's not. Once they beat you, they will always beat you."

Six months later they got married, but the violence continued. She says they tried going to a psychologist and through couple's therapy, but it didn't help them.

Monica says, "They manipulate you into thinking that you're actually wrong. And at some point you do believe that. You believe that it's your fault that you're getting beat."

Monica says she was also afraid to speak out because she was an illegal immigrant at the time. She says, "That was always a threat. You call the cops, I'll deport you."

What finally ended the cycle is something Monica felt was worth more than her marriage... her child.

Monica says, "He says, 'You know mommy I wish I could be a grown up'. And so I look at him, and I was like why? Why do you want to be a grown up. He says, 'Mommy because I really wish I could do to him what he does to you'. And that to a mother is very heart breaking."

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call the Family Support Services' Crisis Hotline 24/7 and remain anonymous. The phone number is (806) 374-5433. Or call the Deaf Smith County Crisis Center Hotline at (806)-363-6727.

You can also apply to the Crime Victims' Compensation Program to receive money for counseling, relocation, and medical expenses.

If you are an illegal immigrant, you can apply for a U-visa, which is what Monica did. It's part of the Women Against Violence Act.

Monica says, "Let somebody know what's going on. And if you have children, just to please take them out of that situation. Do not let them grow up, you know thinking, that that is normal."

Monica, who's now a resident, says don't think of yourself as a victim, but instead a survivor.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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