CLEVELAND — She remembers when it was all so perfect. Until it wasn’t.
"He was very charming, we had, I felt at the time we had a lot in common,” said a woman who is hiding her identity for fear of retaliation. "He went from charming to mean. I felt like I was, over time, sleeping with the enemy. I left him three times, took him back three times.”
One day in March, she made a plan to leave her boyfriend for good.
"Get a U-Haul and get all of my things out of the house and get to a safe place, which was a friend’s house,” she said.
A few days after she got out, he found her.
"He got my car door open, he was snatching on me, took my phone, got a couple hits in,” she reminisced as her voice trembled.
She says she waited 18 days for police to capture him.
"I was staying up all night with a bat in my window,” she said. "I felt like if he found me again, and he caught me alone that he was going to kill me.”
Soon after he was put behind bars, Ohio all but shut down because of coronavirus, so again she’s waiting.
"There’s been several arraignments already, where I keep getting notifications that it’s being pushed back and pushed back,” she said. "I understand the world is on lockdown but I just really want to get this over with.”
With all she’s been through, there is a glimmer of hope. The May Dugan Center has a trauma recovery program where they help advocate for survivors.
"The violence has not stopped. It’s slowed down a little bit but the people that need our services are still out there needing our services,” said Sue Marasco, the director of programming and evaluation at the May Dugan Center.
Marasco says while they understand the court system moving slowly because of safety, it’s hard on their 250 clients.
"When you tell a victim of crime that’s already anxious about their court date, that’s already anxious about where their perpetrator is in the system, and then you tell them, 'Well you know, it may be another couple months,' that, I don’t know, can be as difficult as the initial trauma — not knowing, waiting,” said Marasco.
They help survivors navigate the court system, offer therapy, and since the pandemic, have gotten many of their clients smartphones so they can stay up to date and safe. The victim who spoke to News 5 said all these things have been helping her get through.
"Trying to take one day at a time and tell myself its going to be alright,” said the woman.
But, she continues to wait.
"I’m terrified for this man to get out,” she said. "The terror is just unreal.”
For more information on the May Dugan Center’s trauma recovery program click here: https://www.maydugancenter.net/trauma [maydugancenter.net]
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