Domestic Abuse Survivor Shares Story with Students

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- “You didn’t die.” Those were the first words Shay Brown’s ex-husband told her when she called him from a hospital room. She woke up hooked up to a ventilator. Shay said he put her there after a brutal beating during an argument. Shay said it was at that moment that she knew she had to leave him.

"It wasn't when he pushed me down a flight of stairs. It wasn't when he pulled a knife to my neck. It wasn't even when he pulled a gun on me and my mother," said Brown.

Shay poured her heart out to a crowd of college students in the Milne Auditorium. She went into detail about the eight-year relationship, and her struggle to leave. “I thought he would change. I was addicted to him saying ‘I’m sorry.’”

She recalled painful memories of black eyes, bruises, and holes that were punched into walls. It’s a story many women and men share.  One in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or abused during their lifetime according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., one in four women are abused.

“Look for the signs. They were always there,” shared Reverend Dr. Delores Sconiers. Sconiers also briefly shared her history with domestic violence. Both women say they forgave their abusers, but neither will ever forget it.  And they say the best thing you can do for a victim is to be there.

“Don’t be mad, be there,” said Brown. “You can’t make them leave.”  It usually takes up to seven attempts before a victim leaves their abuser according to the Hubbard House.

Shelters like Hubbard House and Quigley House take in thousands of domestic violence victims a year. Their trained professionals will do everything to help. Hubbard House helped Shay and her children escape. And they can help you, but you have to take the first step and break the silence. You can reach the Hubbard House 24-hours a day by calling 904-354-3114. You can click here to learn more about domestic violence.