a special blog post – katherine’s story

In doing research for another project – a great series about returning students that will start in our November newsletter – I learned the story of Katherine. Hers is an inspirational and important story, all the more poignant because this month is domestic violence awareness month.

I didn’t want to wait to tell her story so I hope you will read it and share with people you know.

She was attending college in Miami, this was back in 2002, and she met a seemingly nice guy and they began dating. After a year and half, the abuse started. It started first with verbal abuse, calling her names that made her feel worthless. Then he began to exert control over many facets of her life, such as demanding she wear clothes over a bathing suit, whether at the beach or at the pool, and telling her what to wear.

Soon, the beatings started. After he had bruised her body, he started on her face, leaving her with broken vessels in her left eye and a black eye.

The next part is chilling, and I want to make sure I explain it exactly as she did: “One night after 3 months of abuse, verbal and physical, we arrived home from a night out and he started fighting with me. He choked me three times and I passed out each time. The third time I woke up he was sitting on top of me and had poured rubbing alcohol on my chest. He whispered to me, ‘I want to burn your heart,’ then proceeded to light me on fire.

Since I was on the floor, I rolled but that didn’t work, it just burned my left arm even more. When I got up, he was staring at me, surprised at what had happened. I ran to the bathroom and tried to turn the shower on, but when I leaned forward the fire on my chest began to creep under my chin and burned my eyebrows and eyelashes. He ran in and turned on the shower. Skin began to fall off my chest as the water ran down, my chest still had the feeling of being on fire.

I begged him to call for help. He refused and offered to heal me, and locked the front door so I couldn’t go out. Eventually I convinced him to let me call for help. He agreed so long as I told them I burned myself smoking a cigarette. I agreed and did so.

When I got to the emergency room, I was questioned by a nurse and she brought over a detective. They didn’t believe the initial story and I told them the truth about what had happened.”

Katherine spent a month in the hospital recovering but her spirit and emotions are still recovering. Diagnosed with PTSD, she refuses to allow her mind to take over and continue being in fear.

Her abuser received a 34-year sentence for attempted murder, arson, kidnapping and assault. But what could be the end of the story was just a beginning for Katherine. An inspirational survivor, she is determined to work on behalf of other abused women.

“I told myself I have to go back to school because it is too common how much domestic violence actually occurs, and I want to help women live and understand that regardless of your situation, kids or not, you can always leave and walk away.”

For Katherine, evil has a face, and some days are harder than others. But she refuses to let the bad days get her down or deter her from her goal of getting a master’s degree in sociology. Why? Because every day that goes by, women are being hurt and Katherine knows she can help. She wants to be as knowledgeable as possible so she can help as many women as possible

Katherine is working on writing a book about her experiences and serves as director for domestic violence at an international nonprofit for abused men, women and children.

As for her decision to return to school, she shares, “I’m tired of letting time pass by so I had to do something and enroll in school again, and God willing, soon I can change part of the world.”

Yes, I believe that. Katherine demonstrates the very definition of strength and serves as a beacon of hope that life can be lived, and can thrive, even after the most sinister abuse.

Locally, help can be found at Harbor House of Central Florida (407-886-2856) or Help Now of Osceola County, Inc. (407-847-8562).

Please keep Katherine’s story in mind this month and beyond. I want to thank her so much for trusting me with her story. She also shared the attached photo, a testament to her beauty both inside and out.
Katherine - Blog


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