Domestic abuse survivors share their stories during vigil held in downtown Lexington

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and advocates are trying to spread the word in Lexington.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:54 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and advocates are trying to spread the word in Lexington.

“The unfortunate thing is when you’re a victim you kind of lose yourself. And you don’t recognize that you’ve lost yourself,” said April Ballentine.

Nine years ago, April Ballentine almost lost much more than that. Then, a victim of domestic abuse, her partner shot her five times, paralyzing her from the chest down.

“You’re protecting the ones that you love. But we fail to protect ourselves.”

Now, an advocate for others. Sharing her story of survival to a crowd of those who have gotten away from their abusers, and maybe more importantly, to those who haven’t yet.

“I find myself here, in the Amanda’s Center, helping others. I didn’t realize I was helping myself.”

Named after Amanda Ross, who was killed by her ex-fiancée and former lawmaker Steve Nunn, the center sits in the Fayette District Court, to help those experiencing domestic abuse. Since Amanda no longer could, her mother, Diana Ross, advocated on behalf of survivors for years. Sheriff Kathy Witt continues that work in both of their memories now.

“To have someone here, to walk them through this process, to have all of the resources of all our community partners to see what they need at the moment. To check on them and see what they need throughout the duration of the order is important and empowering to them,” said Sheriff Witt.

Tuesday’s domestic violence vigil shows those in the midst of abuse they’re not alone. And it shows them there is help to get out. Especially after a year where one third of the city’s homicides have been domestic violence related.

“It’s more important than ever before to come out, listen to stories of survivors, hear about the resources.”

And to rise up together.

The Sheriff’s Office has access to many resources through their community partnerships. Including the Amanda’s Center. You can learn more here.