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Valley domestic violence survivor shares experience in hopes of helping others

Posted at 10:36 PM, Oct 31, 2021

PHOENIX — October 31 is the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Survivor Daysha Smith says, for many years she wasn’t living, she was surviving.

RELATED: Domestic violence situation leads to pursuit, multiple charges for suspect

Smith adds while leaving wasn’t easy, it saved her life.

“I got choked until I blacked completely out,” she told ABC15.

Smith still remembers the last fight she had with her ex-husband.

“So, at this point I don’t know if I’m alive. I don’t know what’s going on with my children...and for the next 12 hours we were hostage,” Sith added.

She says the abuse started years before this incident.

“It will possibly start with a slap. Or a choke, but then it does go to a punch. Then does go to a kick, and so these were things that were happening and frequently happening to the point where I couldn’t go to work,” she said.

As time went on, Smith says her ex-husband would then target areas where bruises couldn't be seen. She felt helpless​.

“Because, you know, who wants to tell someone that this is being done to them,” Smith added.

She says she grew up seeing people fighting, and thinking it was normal. Though, there came a time Smith knew she needed out, for her sake and for the sake of her four kids.

“We’ve definitely seen a huge increase in domestic violence calls. A huge increase in lethality, how serious these cases are that we’re seeing,” said Bailey DeRoest, the co-director of the Sojourner Center, a safe haven for domestic violence victims.

She says domestic violence goes beyond physical abuse.

“Maybe they don’t have control of their finances, somebody controls their finances. They can’t go anywhere without checking in with their partner,” DeRoest told ABC15. “Abuse is verbal, it’s physical, it’s emotional.”

Now, Smith spreads awareness of domestic violence by sharing her truth and lives every day thankful for her freedom.

“If you’re going to stay in a situation that’s unsafe, or if that is the best option, make sure you're safety planning with somebody,” said DeRoest.

Smith reminds others out there, “It’s scary, but your life is more important, so don’t be scared to call 911. Call 911.”

Here is a list of resources for victims and survivors of domestic violence:

ADVOCACY CENTERS

STATE & NATIONAL SERVICES

LEGAL SERVICES

  • Family Lawyers Assistance Project (FLAP):  602-506-7948
  • Maricopa County Bar Lawyer Referral Services:  602-257-4434
  • Community Legal Services:  602-258-3434
  • Friendly House Immigration Attorney:  602-416-7230
  • Maricopa County Superior Court Self Service Center:  602-506-7353
  • Never Again Foundation:  602-761-2535

OTHER SERVICES & OUTREACH

  • Al-Anon (Families of Alcoholics):  Phoenix 602-249-1257; Mesa 480-969-6144
  • Child Help USA:  602-271-4500Fresh Start Women's Resources Center:  602-252-8494
  • Maricopa County Attorney’s Office:  (602) 506-3411
  • Maricopa County Victim Witness:  602-506-8522
  • Victim Compensation Bureau:  602-506-4955
  • Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (Victim Resources) Victims’ Assistance & Notification Unit 24 hours, 7 days week:  602-876-8276