HOUSTON - The tragedy in Sutherland Springs is sparking some serious questions about domestic violence especially among victims.
"I'm grateful for everything I foresee in my future," said Lovinah Igbani. "I'm grateful for the air I'm breathing right now."
Times for Igbani are good. She's studying at Houston Community College and planning to transfer to the University of Houston to complete a degree in social work. She's even doing outreach at area prisons.
"The joy I get from it money can't buy and it's something I can't even explain. It's a high I've never had in my life," she said.
The high she's feeling now is contrasted with the rock bottom she experienced after she met a guy nearly 10 years ago.
"I just thought he was the one from early on in our relationship," she said. "Early on in the relationship though the abuse started immediately."
Igbani said he always apologized, but the abuse continued.
"I was too embarrassed. I never told a close friend, never told anyone, no one," she said. "I'm really close to my sisters but I'm really ashamed that I was in a situation and I wasn't sure I wanted to get out at that time either."
Three years later she confided in a pastor who told her about the Houston Area Women's Center. Igbani said she almost didn't go to the shelter because she was afraid.
"It's still a very private issue that stays in the home so it's very difficult for survivors to connect and talk about it and realize how common domestic violence is," said Aly Jacobs, manager of counseling and advocacy at the women's center.
Ignabi is now encouraging others in similar situations to reach out for help.
"If you're still alive and you're going through it, reach out, talk to somebody, just pick up the phone and call somebody," she said. "It can save your life."
If you need help, there's a domestic violence help hotline. The number is 713-528-2121
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