Domestic Violence Awareness Month - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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October marks breast cancer awareness month, but it's also domestic violence awareness month. While one in eight women will get breast cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports one in four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

It's something Patrina Sims experienced first-hand.

"In my relationship there was a lot of verbal emotional abuse and then it turned into physical beatings," Simms said.

Over years of abuse at the hands of her then husband Patrina suffered a cracked clavicle, chipped teeth, cigarette burns and dislocated shoulders. She was also the victim of marital rape.

"I felt that as long as he didn't beat the kids that I was going to stay with him forever," she said.

Like many battered women, she left the home only to return multiple times hearing promises that he would get better. But, when her daughter was ten months old she hit rock bottom.

"He was on top of me beating me and I turned around to look to see my daughter," she said. "(She was) crawling over to me. Seeing that I was getting beat and went in between my ex-husband and myself."

Patrina said she knows her daughter was trying to protect her.

"He just picked her up with one hand and kept beating me with the other hand," she said.

Shortly after that Patrina grabbed the kids a headed to the YWCA's batter women's shelter in Missoula where she found people willing to listen to her story and help her move on. With their help Patrina was able to get her own housing, finish school and divorce her abusive husband. Now she uses her skills and experience to help other women who come to the shelter.

"She's lived through it and now she's really trying to tackle that issue and educate people on it," said Pathways Program Manager Katharina Werner.

The YWCA offers a 24-hour crisis line, an emergency shelter and a walk-in room where people can get advice Monday through Friday from 12 to 4.  With resources like this both women hope anyone in the midst of abuse has the strength the break free.

"Eventually I think women, or men, that are surviving violence will leave if they have the right support and if they know about their resources," Werner said.

For more information about the resources available at the YWCA click here.

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