Domestic violence awareness, a survivor’s story

*Our policy is to typically not identify victims of domestic violence. In this case Heather came forward wanting to help bring awareness to help others.

YUMA, Ariz. – “I would have bruises on my arms, on my neck. I would have black eyes or something like that”, Yuma resident Heather Griffith is remembering the moments she fought for her life in a violent relationship with her now ex-husband. “Each time we had a fight it would escalate more and more each time”, said Griffith.

Heather was a marine at MCAS Yuma at the time of the relationship, she says the attacks from her ex husband Jhermie Mccamey were an almost daily occurrence leaving her in fear of her life.

“Who did you talk to? Who did you look at? What did you two talk about on the way over there? It’s like you are isolated in there, and you try to hide what happens inside those four walls from the world”, said Griffith.

Heather sent us several photos showing her bruised and battered, wounds inflicted by a man she thought she loved. “You want to believe this person can change so you stay”, said Griffith.

If this can happen to a marine it could very well happen to just about anyone. Sadly it seems that is the case. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence 1 in 3 women will become victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. For Heather’s case, she was finally able to break free from her abusive ex-husband but that came with another shocking development that left her with more emotional scars.

It was April 2015, Heather’s ex-husband Jhermie McCamey was found guilty of murdering his aunt Lisa in Okolona, Mississippi. “He had shot and killed his aunt, shot her 4 times in the back and front of the head and is doing 16 years”.

Today Heather works with The Healing Journey to spread awareness about Domestic Violence. This year they are taking part in a large fundraising effort called the Purple Purse Challenge. The fundraiser is led by the Allstate Foundation.  The focus this year is domestic violence in the eyes of children. The Allstate Foundation says he Purple Purse Challenge is a friendly fundraising competition that has raised nearly $5.5 million for more than 160 national, state and local nonprofits and the survivors they serve.

It’s an initiative that the “What I see are children tired the next day of school because maybe mom was fighting with her boyfriend husband or partner and they didn’t sleep or they were afraid they wouldn’t have a mom in the morning.” A pain Heather, a mother of 3, knows all too well. “They can make it, they can become something great”, said Heather.

The Purple Purse Challenge begins September 27th and goes through October 25th. If you would like to donate to The Healing Journey to help local victims of Domestic Violence visit their website

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