HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Statistics show one in four women, and one in nine men in the United States have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.
One Coast woman found the courage to lift her voice and share her story.
Ruth Komar has PTSD after suffering years of abuse throughout her life as a child and adult.
“I was raised in a violent home," said Komar. “Had a violent mother who everybody thought was really sweet, and then I married a very violent man. Lived with him for 17 years before I finally got out.”
Komar lived day to day not knowing how she’d survive.
“I didn’t know you could get out of it til I was nearly dead," said Komar. "Either my ex was going to kill me or I was going to myself because I was so depressed. Very, very nasty thing.”
The experience traumatized Komar and even years later, she still struggles to go places alone, out of fear of who may hurt her. She said her service dog Czar is her protection.
“With him, he’s just opened a lot of doors for me," said Komar
Czar is also a certified therapy dog and Komar takes him to visit people in nursing homes and behavioral hospitals.
“He’s just a real real comfort to other people," said Komar. "It’s nice to be able to share him. I get a real lot out of that.”
Komar has also taken up art and her art has won her several prizes. But most importantly, it’s built her self esteem.
“I took drawing lessons, and I am still amazed when I see some of the art that I’ve produced," said Komar. “And I’m just amazed. I thank God for this gift because I never knew I had it.”
Komar is now overcoming her past, and sharing her story to give others hope.
“Between the dog and the art I would practically say there’s nothing wrong," said Komar. “It’s just taken me out of everything from the past.”
If you are in crisis, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit The Hotline dot org.