OMAHA (KPTM) – A crowd of people attended a candlelight vigil on the Douglas County Courthouse steps Thursday night to mark Domestic Violence Month. Two survivors helped organize the event and talked with KPTM about the point in their lives when they felt there was no way out—until their children were involved.
The night was a domestic violence victory for Heather Duhachek and Liz Jones who were once both victims.
"I was almost killed," Duhachek said. "I was strangled, he beat me with both fists, he kicked me in the face, he stomped on my face multiple times."
Duhachek said for years she was in denial that her then husband Timothy Moody was abusive because the abuse was always verbal until the day, she said, he snapped and in front of their three children.
"I looked up and I just saw the bottom of his shoe, right here. And I remember turning to the side and shutting my eye and as he's stomping I'm looking and my daughter—my 5 year old was right there."
Jones said she went from living with an abusive father to marrying an abusive husband.
"The window was open. So the screen falls out, I'm hanging out with my child like this," Jones said as she described a time her ex-husband beat her while she was holding their infant.
Now Jones and Duhachek are dealing with their son's violent behavior.
"If I have anything to do with it, my children will not repeat this cycle. I will fight until the day I die to make sure that does not happen," Duhachek said.
After escaping their violent marriages the two, before they met, started their own organizations to help domestic violence victims.
Duhachek is the founder and CEO of Generation Hope Family Counseling & Consulting, LLC.
Jones is the president and founder of Hope's Guiding Hand.
Both organizations, along with The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council organized Thursday night's candlelight vigil to reach out and encourage victims to speak out.
They relayed a message also to bystanders—that if they see, hear or witness any kind of domestic violence to interfere. Duhachek and Jones said when children get involved, the affects last long after the violent incidents stop.
"He's hitting other kids, he's strangling other kids. These kids are your kids that my son is now going to school with," said Duhachek.
Jones said she is worried her 13-year-old son will grow up and beat on women like his father.
"[He] has continuously beaten on women ever since he left me and unfortunately my kids have been around for some of that."
Moody was sentenced to six years in jail. He may be released early on parole next year.
Jones' ex-husband was never convicted.
"He's a state hopped. He gets in trouble and he hops to a different state to get out of it."
But neither Jones nor Duhachek lives in fear for their lives anymore for the sake of their children and silent victims of domestic violence still trying to find their way out.
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