Domestic violence survivor hopes new law passes to protect more victims

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After a string of domestic violence incidents that led to the shooting death of three innocent people in Kirkersville, victim advocates are speaking up.

Currently, Ohio and Georgia are the only two states that don’t allow domestic violence victims in a dating relationship to get civil protection orders against their abuser. HB1, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives aims to change that.

“He shot me twice at point-blank range, once in the chest and once in the wrist when I decided to leave him,” said domestic violence survivor Diona Clark.

In 2005, Clark decided to get out of an abusive relationship. She said her ex-boyfriend came after her with a gun.

“My left lung collapsed. My rib bone was chipped. I had to have micro-hand surgery because of the damage that the heat of the bullet had done to it,” said Clark. “The doctors, they told me that I was going to die that night.”

Right now in Ohio, victims can only get a civil protection order if they’re married, have a child in common or live with their abuser.

“To that abuser, nothing is going to happen to me,” said Clark. “There is no repercussion for my actions, so I’m going to follow through and do what I have to do.”

If passed, HB1 would allow people in dating relationships to get a civil protection order. It’s something Clark said would have helped her before she was attacked.

“Passing this bill, it means a lot to women like myself or any other victim,” said Clark. “Just letting us know that someone stands by us and that there’s no tolerance for it.”

Nancy Grigsby with the Ohio Domestic Violence Network said right now one of the few options for victims in a dating relationship is to get a stalking protection order.

“But, you’ve got to meet a lot of elements. You’ve got to have two more incidents, closely related in time. You’ve got to have mental distress, so some people have a really unsafe situation, but they don’t meet the statute and can’t get the protection order,” said Grigsby.

She also has a message to survivors thinking about separating from their abuser: Things can get dangerous, fast.

“They need to talk to a domestic violence advocate and get a safety plan in place,” she said.

If you need to contact a victim advocate immediately, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24/7 at 800-799-7233.

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