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I like to portray myself as a strong woman. You know? And — but I need help too, sometimes so I do reach out sometimes and I get therapy or talk to others that are, you know, going through the same things that I went through.

Unfortunately because of my past and my childhood, I found myself in that cycle of finding what was normal to me, which was violence. I want young women, women of all ages because women of all ages go through intimate partner violence and domestic violence, that there is hope. That there is, you know, a light. That the only thing that they have to do is seek the help, you know, to talk to someone.

I know it’s very scary. It’s something that sometimes, like, for example, in my culture, in the Latino culture, we do not want to discuss things like that. We want to keep it within the home or we’re taught that, you know, that it’s just, you know, it’s not that bad. It could be worse. And we have to understand that it is not okay. It is not okay for anyone to abuse you. It is not okay for anyone to make you feel worthless or — you know, because intimate partner violence comes in many different ways, not only physical but spiritually, mentally, verbally. Now I have self-esteem even though sometimes I get triggered by things where I do feel sometimes, am I worthy? But I am worthy.

I am in a very loving relationship of nine years where there is mutual respect and love. And we broke that cycle.

Maria talks about the help she got to break the cycle of violence. She got the help she needed to take care of her health, and is now in a loving relationship with mutual love and respect.

Getting the Care You Deserve

If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse from a partner, seek help right away. No matter where you are in your relationship, planning for your emotional and physical safety is extremely important.

Visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline to find information about domestic violence, safety planning, and local resources. Call The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to find highly-trained, experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in over 170 languages.

If it’s not safe for you to call, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, another option for getting direct help is to use the chat services on The Hotline’s website. You’ll receive the same one-on-one, real-time, confidential information from a trained advocate as you would on the phone. You can chat on the website every day from 7 a.m. – 2 a.m. CST.