Domestic violence survivor encourages victims to seek help

MILWAUKEE -- Sunday's shooting at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, shed light on the issue of domestic violence after it was learned the shooter, Radcliffe Haughton and his wife, Zina had a history of domestic violence related incidents. Now, some have asked why victims would stay in an abusive relationship. The answer to that question is complicated. FOX6 News spoke with a domestic abuse victim who was brave enough to share her story after escaping her abuser just one year ago. She says she's thankful she's still alive.

The woman never met Zina Haughton but says she understands her.

"Women are losing their lives -- they are. I'm sorry she lost her life," the woman told FOX6 News.

The woman lives at the Daystar transitional home for survivors of domestic abuse. To escape her abuser, the woman gave up her home and career.

"This person attacked me and broke my ankle in two places. You feel as though, what did I do to deserve this?" the woman said.

The woman says what happened at the Azana Salon & Spa is an abuse victim's worst fear, and fear of the unknown is what traps someone in a dangerous relationship.

"You think about your livelihood, your children, your family and their safety, your safety," the woman said.

Colleen Carpenter is Daystar's executive director. She says everybody knows a battered woman.

"The easy question to ask when you`re talking about domestic violence is 'why doesn`t she just leave?' The first thing I say when people say that, is 'guess what? That`s when most women die.' Most women who die as a result of domestic violence don`t die because they stayed. They die because they tried to leave," Carpenter said.

Thursday, Daystar held its biggest fundraiser of the year.

Daystar serves nine women, including the woman FOX6 News spoke with. The woman are placed in a secure location and Daystar helps them earn degrees and find new jobs.

"You can move on. You can start over, and starting over feels wonderful," the woman said.

Carpenter says the demand for domestic abuse help is so high, they can't house all the women who seek their help. Right now, Daystar has 12 women on a waiting list -- some who may still be living with their abusers.

Daystar says one thing that would help more women leave in a domestic violence situation is harsher criminal sentences for abusers. The woman FOX6 News spoke with said her abuser was sentenced to just a few months in prison for breaking her ankle, despite having beaten four other women in the past.