Valley mom shares her story for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Amy Arrowsmith sought shelter and got help at the Phoenix Rescue Mission
She sought refuge at the Phoenix Rescue Mission after being in a physically and verbally abusive relationship for seven years.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:36 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Even though next week marks the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, one Valley mom has a message we could use all year long.

Amy Arrowsmith sought refuge at the Phoenix Rescue Mission after being in a physically and verbally abusive relationship for seven years, getting help through the Changing Lives Center. “I would leave and go back, leave and go back. Because that’s just what I knew and I didn’t know how to break the cycle of domestic violence in my life,” she recently told Arizona’s Family, saying she had never experienced it before.

Amy is sharing her story in hopes of helping others. She left her abuser for good on Christmas Eve of last year. There were times over the years when Amy says she would sleep in her car at a Walmart or gas station parking lot. Now she has taken domestic violence classes and counseling.

While it’s a process and she’s still healing, Amy says she’s doing great. She also has two little boys who consider her their hero.

“For other women, I just want to let them know there is hope” Amy said. “There is freedom on the other side of this. Because I know when you’re in them middle of it you feel like there is no out. There is no way out. But there is absolutely a way out.”

In the year 2021, there were 94 known domestic violence-related fatalities across Arizona. That’s according to a report from the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV). The group complied the list using an online media monitoring service with keywords related to domestic violence.

It’s a comprehensive list, but the coalition does say the data is limited because it only records those deaths reported online. Arizona consistently ranks among the top states with the highest homicide rates of women murdered by men. It says between 2009 and 2021 there were more than 1,300 domestic violence-related deaths.

The CEO of the organization says unfortunately the latest report does not surprise her. While fatalities are the focus of the study, there is so much to watch out for.

“But the reality is the domestic violence isn’t just homicide,” said Jenna Panas, the CEO of ACESDV. “It isn’t just physical assault. It runs the gamut. And so emotional control, emotional abuse, financial abuse... all of those are facets of domestic violence.”

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office says every 44 minutes in Arizona, one or more children witness domestic violence.

Here is where you or someone you know can find help.