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The topic of domestic violence has been in the news a lot the past few weeks. The Fargo Police Department is trying to heighten awareness using public service announcements and billboards to prevent these kinds of attacks. The Fargo Rape and Abuse Crisis center reports that last year they saw more than 16-hundred domestic violence cases and every nine seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten.

Valley News Team's Regina Reese spoke to one woman tonight who says when she got the chance to leave an abusive relationship, she took it.

Annette Graves knows the violent cycle all too well.

"His last phone call was, if you don't get out of the house now you'll never leave the house again."

For nine years Annette would endure an abusive marriage with a man she had 3 kids with. The relationship was bliss until the birth of their first child.

"It was yelling throwing things and it seemed like as the marriage got older and another child was born it took another step up."

The situation worsened over the years and Annette wanted out.

"He'd start yelling, I'd take the kids, run into a bedroom and shut the door and he'd punch the door."

All along questioning how she would make it.

"I was a young mom with two babies and no job because he was the bread winner. I didn't know where to turn to."

Glen Hase, a legal advocate at the Fargo Rape and Abuse Crisis Center says the want to leave is there and so is the fear.

"It's not easy to pack up and leave. Where are they going to go? We talk about how we have all these options for victims. We have more shelters for animals and men than we have for women and children."

Another paralyzing factor Glen points out is the loss of identity.

"I hear from lots of victims that I lost my voice, I lost who I am. I woke up one morning and didn't even recognize who I was."

For Annette she took her only chance out. She loaded the car with the kids and took off to a friend's house. Two days later she returned with the police to what she once called home.

"He had completely destroyed the apartment with a baseball bat. There were empty bottles of alcohol all over the living room. Family pictures he had ripped in half and there was a loaded shot gun on the dining room table."  

Hase says domestic violence does not discriminate and it could happen to anyone. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The Fargo Rape and Abuse Crisis Center offers their services for free if you or someone you know is in need of help. 

If you or anyone you know is seeking help to get away from an abusive relationship call the crisis center at 701-293-7273.

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