Love is not abuse, and domestic violence kills millions of women each yet. Domestic violence affects men and women from all walks of life. But it rarely makes the headlines.
Duania Hall was in a series of abusive relationships, in which one almost killed her.
She now knows domestic violence can happen to anyone because it happened to her, over and over again.
“I’ve been slapped, bit, pushed, shoved. You name it,” Duania remembers.
She’s now passionate about helping other women stay out of abusive relationships and helping those who are in them,”get out!”
“[You have to] love yourself enough to say no more. That is not love. Abuse is not love,” she says.
It’s been one year since Duania left her last abuser. She escaped with her six-year-old daughter and one-week-old baby to a shelter in the middle of the night while he slept. She lived in fear and she wanted to quit her job. She didn’t have any money and shedid not havefriends or family living nearby.
“For me the final straw was my daughter. The last argument we had, she was terrified and screaming,” Duania says.
She says that experience brought back painful memories for her as a child, seeing her parents fight. Duania believes history repeats itself and that’s why she’s been in so many abusive relationships. Her worst, so far, waswhen her live-in boyfriend stabbed her 22 times.
“I woke up and didn’t pay attention to what he was doing. I thought he was acting weird andI blew it off. He was withdrawn and hefollowed me from room to room. He was crying and begging me not to leave him.I took it lightly. I didn’t figure he was going to stab me.”
Duania says she broke up with him the night before after another argument. The next morning, while she washed her hair before going to work, he attacked.
“I felt something painful. I had no idea [what it was]. I got up slowly, turned around and he was standing there like something I’ve never seen before, holding a knife, and he said, ‘see what you made me do,’ and ‘ifI can’t have you, no one can.”
The man stabbed her over and over, on her arms, back, legs, thighs, stomach, chest and neck.
“There were points whenI played dead. I couldn’t fight any more. He turned me over, he put finger under my nose to see ifI was still breathing. I held my breath and it hurt like hell.”
Then, as she laid there, she could hear the man pack a bag, wash off the knife and burn his clothes.
He’s now in jail for 34 years.