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Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Colbert County woman shares her story of survival

“I feel blessed that I did survive. There are so many who didn’t,”
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

A Colbert County woman shared her incredible story of survival and strength that she wears every day. A symbol of hope and reminder of survival is wrapped around Jennifer Churchwell’s neck

“At six o’clock in the morning, it actually happened to be Mother’s Day, he held me at gunpoint in our bedroom. He pulled the gun out, he put the shells in, he locked the door,” said Churchwell.

It’s been eight years since she was able to walk out of that room.

Since that moment, she’s been sharing her story hoping to help others facing abuse know they are not alone.

“It was a lot of verbal abuse. Some sexual abuse as well, and a lot of walking on eggshells. Not knowing what’s going to set him off,” said Churchwell.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

“Still even through all of that it was hard for me to recognize that this was domestic violence simply because I wasn’t ended up in the hospital beaten,” said Churchwell.

She now advocates for men and women in her situation to get help through the Colbert County Domestic Violence Response Coalition.

“I feel blessed that I did survive. There are so many who didn’t,” said Churchwell.

Remembering those who didn’t survive, each year the coalition puts up white crosses with names of individuals who’ve lost their lives in front of the Colbert County Courthouse.

They stand tall for the entire month. In 2021 alone, they’ve added four more names.

“I want my story to hopefully help prevent additional crosses being put out here,” said Churchwell.

Like the symbol wrapped around her neck, she says there’s hope for a better tomorrow.

“It’s not instantaneous and from the PTSD from that day and what I lived through for so many years, that never truly goes away, but it definitely gets better,” said Churchwell.

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