She remembers well the day he last beat her.
It was Dec. 1. He had beat her before, but this time it was different. He held her down by the neck in a chair and punched her in the cheekbone. She knew she had to leave for the safety of her son.
She was shocked he had punched her close-fisted. Then, he hit her again.
“That’s when it’s like a cartoon. You literally see stars like white, then nothing,” Roxie says. “And when I woke up it was like five hours later and there was a cigarette burn.”
She points to her wrist which is now singed brown.
In 2014, there were 109 domestic violence related deaths in Arizona in 2014, according to the Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. Roxie, a battered woman living in the Forgach House in Sierra Vista, is a survivor.
The Forgach House, run through Catholic Community Services, provides shelter for domestic violence survivors, giving them a hideaway from their abusers. According to Violence Policy Center, Arizona ranked eighth in the nation in female homicides per capita for domestic violence in 2012.
The shelter helps with resumes and job applications. They provide self-esteem counseling, supply three meals a day, a place to wash clothes and Christian counselling if they want it. There are 40 beds in the facility, and families can stay up to 45 days which can be extended on a case-by-case basis.
Roxie, whose name has been changed to give her protection, was abused by her boyfriend, a drug dealer, of six years who is the father of her 3-year-old son Jack. She lives in the shelter with her son. She is from Phoenix but spent the last six years in Bisbee with her abuser.
“I remember the investigating officer who testified at my last [hearing] on the 30th; they asked him how many calls he’s been to for domestic violence in the year that he’s been on the force,” she says. “He said 40. That averages out to about one a week. I think that’s a lot for the size of the community.”
Roxie, 40, says she’s still figuring out who she is because she spent the last six years being told who she was.
“There’s a ‘before this time’ and an ‘after this time.’ I know that before this time that I was a very strong and intelligent, articulate, put-together person,” Roxie says.
Read more at Arizona Sonora News Service by clicking here.