Domestic violence survivor speaks out - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Domestic violence survivor speaks out

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"There wasn't an incident where I can say that's when I knew I had to leave," says Thoreson. "There wasn't an incident where I can say that's when I knew I had to leave," says Thoreson.
KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho -

Kerri Thoreson sits in her cramped office at the Post Falls Food shelter. Over the last few weeks she's been working as the interim director while a replacement is selected. She thinks back more than 30 years to her previous marriage, mulling over violent events wondering if there was ever a moment where she realized the situation she was in. 

"There wasn't an incident where I can say that's when I knew I had to leave," says Thoreson. 

Thoreson was with her husband for a year before they got married. She remembers that it was only after they were married that her husband's attitude started to change. Violent outbursts were rare, but Thoreson says after it happened it was the threat of knowing that violence could be an option that kept her in fear. She never walked around with black eyes and bruised arms as you'd typically think with battered women, a majority of her abuse came verbally. 

She knows the cliched phrase you hear anytime the topic of domestic violence comes up, "why don't they leave". In Thoreson's case, as is the case for many women, she was married to a person she loved and she tells KHQ it was easier to think that you could fix or change things for the better. 

Thoreson became isolated from her friends and family. She knew she needed to leave, but that feeling only came after sinister thoughts. Her sinister thoughts. 

"I was thinking about ways that I could kill him," says Thoreson. "I wanted him gone. I didn't see how that would happen and I became that person that was thinking about killing someone." 

There are 13,000 deaths each year caused by domestic violence. That fact is made even more incredible when a gun is present. The likelihood of a domestic violence death, when a gun is in the house, increases by 500 times. A victim advocate for the Post Falls police department, Bridget Eismann tells KHQ the statistics are scary. 

"The national average of women in domestic violence relationships is one in four," says Eismann. "Kootenai County matches the national average." 

The Post Falls Police department, in 2014, saw 500 new cases of domestic violence. Kootenai County ranks highest in the state of Idaho for domestic violence incidents per-capita. Eismann meets with victims daily, she understands their stories and knows that fear is one of the biggest factors keeping women in violent relationships. 

"By the time you figure out you're in trouble, it makes it hard to leave," says Thoreson. 

Thoreson had been afraid to leave. She'd been brainwashed into thinking nobody would ever care for her. She was afraid of living in poverty and she was afraid of being killed; however, she was more afraid of what would happen if she had stayed. 

"It's hard once you get out. I struggled and worked two jobs to support my kids and we did without...but it's great out here, it is great," says Thoreson. 

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