Domestic violence survivors spread message of hope

1 in 4 women, 1 in 10 men are victims
Posted at 11:32 PM, Oct 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 23:32:33-04

It's a silent killer.  Domestic violence comes into homes and destroys families. Thursday, Baltimore's mayor took a stand to raise awareness along side survivors.

October is domestic violence awareness month.  Thursday night, City Hall turned purple to honor victims and survivors.

For one survivor, this is more than just about awareness, it's about finding your strength. 

"The purpose for me in life is to not carry other peoples' baggage to not allow people to use me as a punching bag," survivor, Cynthia Williams, told ABC2.

But there was a time Williams couldn't say that, now she tells her story to help others.

"For 21 years I was in a domestic violence relationship," Williams said.

Williams told Thursday's crowd that staying in that relationship taught her an important lesson.

"I realized that love shouldn't hurt."

Today she speaks confidently of her story, but at one point, there was no escape in sight.

"At one time during my marriage I was actually married to this individual was tied to a bed, with belt buckles, hands and feet and it took the police to bust down the door to get me," Williams recalls.

"1 in 10 men, 1 in 4 women and 1in 2 trans individuals will expect domestic violence in their lifetime," Janice Miller from House of Ruth Maryland told ABC2.

It's a trend support organizations and survivors are trying to change. 

Miller continued, "All of us have the expectation that when we go home at night we shut the door and then were safe and unfortunately for many women and men in Maryland, they don't have that luxury."

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh says curbing this crime is a top priority.

"Domestic violence is so severe throughout this nation and we certainly have a problem here in our city."

That's why she and members of the Baltimore Police Department and city leaders came together to bring hope 

"It's the life of the victim, it's the life of the family everyone is victimized in a situation like that," Pugh said.

Williams wants those in trouble to remember their worth.

"Domestic violence is only a situation and I can change a situation and I don't have to stay in it, I can empower myself to move past it."

Click here for if you or someone you know is in need of help.