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A local victims’ advocate says victims often fall for the abuser’s illegal behavior

SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) – There are times when life comes full circle. Holly Waitress is one such example. As a former victim of violence, he is now a victim advocate. Many of those she helps have a range of issues with deciding when to leave their abuser.

“Victims do not only leave the family situation; they also hit rock bottom with drugs or alcohol and try to get help,” Vetor said.

When under pressure, victims may even do illegal things to keep the peace.

“And you might as well just face your abuser with guilt,” Vetor said.

One of those who remained silent when confronted with the accusations of his crime was Harley Matthews.

“Fighting for my kids and fighting for my sobriety by hiding the domestic violence and protecting him was really hard, that’s what happened,” Matthews said.

He faced a heavy prison sentence.

“I was facing 15 to 25 years and I got new charges and charges for him that he should have received,” Matthews said.

Scott Miller, Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Programs in Duluth, MN, is called to testify in criminal cases when the crime involves domestic violence.

“The best thing I can testify about is why the survivor makes this decision. Why did she not tell the truth in the witness? Why did she wait to call the police? Why did she talk to him after he wrote to the defense does?” Miller said. “All of these things that she does have to be viewed through the lens of the fear that she’s going through.”

Miller and his associates are now known around the world for the “Duluth Model”, also known as “Duluth”. Power and control wheela visual that brings clarity to the understanding of abuse.

electric wheel and control(Dakota News Now)

“So the wheel is really a way of having a window into that experience that she’s having and also a window into what she’s doing to regain that power and control over her,” Miller said.

Because Matthews connected with a victim advocate and had access to help through Marsy’s Law, she found her voice, told her attorney about the abuse, and got another chance from a judge.

“I took drug court and moved three towns away,” Matthews said. “I was able to fight for my kids and get back on track and then today I’m seven months sober.”

It’s not too late for those still stuck in violence.

“There’s nothing you can own. There’s nothing you can lose that’s worth staying in,” Matthews said.

Having a victim advocate and Marsy’s Law to help the victim can make a difference.

“You can be heard. You can be a part of plea deals. You have to be a part of the whole process. And I think that’s what really helps people on a psychological level, if they know about it, it helps them also helps with healing because it was for me. It healed me in the process,” Vetor said.

Weather says rape victims report falling for their abusers in situations that require them to lie, sell drugs, evade taxes and do other things they wouldn’t normally do on their own.

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