SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Jennifer Gardiner, who works for ABC4, had been married for 4 years when what she calls “the final incident” took place in 2006. Her husband lost his temper and assaulted her inside of her vehicle, after having a violent reaction and throwing up to a combination of prescription medication and alcohol.
“The assault was so bad it broke most of the bones in the left side of my face, I had years of reconstructive surgery, I was strangled,” said Gardiner.
Gardiner was able to get away and successfully left the relationship. But she says not all victims of domestic abuse are so lucky. That’s why she became a domestic violence survivor’s advocate.
“It feels like to me a lot of offenders don’t realize they can kill someone. And then they do. And without an offender getting help and recognizing their behaviors could lead to something that catastrophic, it can end that way,” said Gardiner.
Domestic violence comes in many forms, and different forms of domestic violence have different signs.
“You might start to observe that person experiencing violence or abuse is withdrawn, they may have anxiety,” said Liz Sollis, a spokesperson for Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.
Advocates say those signs can be difficult to spot, but there are things you can do if you think someone you know is experiencing domestic violence.
“I think making sure they know they’re not alone, that you’re going to be there for them even if they choose to stay, help connect them to ways that they can do so safely or as safely as possible,” said Sollis, pointing to resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) and the statewide Linkline (1-800-897-5465).
And she said if you see physical abuse happening in real-time, call 911.
“People are experiencing domestic violence every single day, and most of the time we never hear about it,” she adds.