Shedding light on consequences of domestic violence

Estella Segovia opens up to News 8 about gaining her freedom from domestic violence as part of our series on the subject. Rebecca Lopez has more.

The numbers are staggering. One hundred thirty-two women were killed in domestic violence cases last year.

The youngest victim was 16, the oldest victim 90.  

The majority of them were shot.

News 8 is committed to putting the spotlight on this issue. Estella Segovia survived domestic violence, and shared her story with us.

"When did the abuse start?" we asked.  She said it began three weeks after she got married.

For seven years, Estella lived in a private Hell.

"He hit me, he kicked me in my face when I was on the floor," she said. "He put a pillow over my face and tried to smother me."

Her now ex-husband Joseph Buckaloo reigned terror over her life.  A tyrant who controlled her every move.

"They think abuse is control and getting what you want," Estella said.

Tired of the beatings, Estella filed for a protective order and left -- that was in 2012.

"I started to follow the directions and I got the protective order- within a week he had already violated it at my home."

Like most domestic violence victims, she lived in fear her ex-husband would find her and kill her.

Her worst nightmare came true. He showed up at her cousin's house, armed with a gun demanding Estella leave with him.

For the first time, she told him no. And that proved to be fateful.

"Once I closed the door and locked it, that's when I heard the cocking of the gun," she said.

Buckaloo fired dozens of rounds.

"I started hearing the glass breaking," Estella said. "Shot after shot after shot is when I really felt it, so surreal like it wasn't happening."

When the bullets stopped, Estella's cousin, who was also at the home, was shot in the face.

"I blamed myself for a long time for being there," Estella said. "She ended up losing her left eye."

All this after Estella made the decision to leave.

She was going through counseling at the Family Place.

Statistics show of the women killed in domestic violence incidents, 75 percent die after leaving.

More than half die by gunfire.

"When a batterer realizes he's lost control of his partner, that is when she is in the most danger, especially if you have filed for divorce, served divorce papers or say I am leaving you," Paige Flink of the Family Place said. "That is when you have to have a safety plan to be able to get out."

Estella's ex was sentenced to 99 years in prison. She no longer had to look over her shoulder.

And she encourages other victims to seek help and shelter because she says their lives depend on it.


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