PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona's largest domestic violence shelter is packed full after a year of empty beds and an alarming amount of underreported abuse. Now, survivors are sharing their stories.
"It's constricting," said Sienna Wagnon. "And you don't know that you're in it until it becomes so constricting until something turns for the worst." Wagnon's marriage took a turn for the worse in a 2019 Las Vegas trip. "He beat me up pretty good and put a pillow over my face," said Wagnon.
The non-profit says March was their second-worst month, with 183 crime victims served and 111 of them being victims of domestic violence.
The Phoenix woman is sharing her story now after a 2020 full of alarming underreported domestic abuse. Victims were unable to come forward, trapped in the same home as their abuser with no contact with people who can report the crime for them.
During that time, New Life Center, the largest domestic violence shelter in Arizona had open beds, something CEO Myriah Mhoon has never seen before. "Watching the news every single day, we saw that deaths due to domestic violence, the lethality of this issue is rising at a level we weren't used to," said Mhoon.
Now, the shelter is at capacity with more survivors coming forward. "It truly shows the significance of this pandemic and what it did to domestic violence survivors," said Mhoon. Wagnon is sharing her story in hopes for even more people to come out for help. "I thought it was important," said Wagnon.
If you know someone who is in a domestic violence situation, you can call New Life Center's hotline 623-932-4404.