DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Survivor never suspected murder attempt - FOX 32 News Chicago

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Survivor never suspected murder attempt

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Mandy Matula is one of too many women killed by an intimate partner in Minnesota this year, and a woman who says she was lucky to survive is sharing her story to help others who may be at risk.

Too many times this year, a missing woman has been in the news. The searches span agonizing weeks while loved ones grow desperate for closure. The cases often close in tragedy, and Gina Williams told Fox 9 News hers nearly did as well.

Like so many others, Williams was ending a relationship that didn't go as planned. Although there are far too many victims of ongoing domestic abuse, sometimes the first sign of trouble is also the last.

"Never thought in a million years that he would have done something like this to me because he wasn't, to me, he wasn't that guy," Williams admitted.

Yet, when Williams tried to break it off with her long-time boyfriend, he pulled a gun and shot her 9 times.

"It was just shocking that he would skip over the physical part of it and go right to a handgun," Williams said.

Williams can't help but remember her own shock when reads the headlines about Matula, Kira Steger, and Anarae Schunk -- women who were killed by a husband or former boyfriend; however, those names are just a fraction of those on the growing list of 24 women killed by an intimate partner in Minnesota this year alone.

"It hurts my heart to hear that these women get into those situations, to where they can't cry out for help," Williams said.

Advocates say the number of women reaching out for help has doubled this year, thanks in part to the number of high-profile cases -- and Williams hopes anyone who is concerned about a relationship transition will reach out, especially since in her case, there was no physical abuse. In fact, prior to the shooting, she had intended to continue living with her attacker following the split because the two shared a child.

"That's what my plan was, and I thought it was a good plan -- but obviously, it wasn't his plan," Williams said.

On average, half of femicides involve women who are trying to end a relationship. 

"It's quite a catch 22," Rebekah Moses, of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, told Fox 9 News. "We know that when a batterer feels that he is losing power or control over his intimate partner, the violence tends to escalate."

The coalition stresses that if a woman is experiencing domestic violence and she's not ready to leave because there's no safe way to go, it's important not to try to force her.

Anyone who needs help with a domestic-violence concern can call the Day One Crisis Line at 1-866-223-1111.

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