You or someone you know may have been there:

Involved in a relationship, which turns into abuse, and remain in the relationship because of love. Oftentimes it’s easy to believe that because you love someone you can help them change or that their “I’m sorry” is real this time. Unfortunately, far too many times we make sacrifices for others not realizing how it will impact our own lives.

Too many families experience domestic violence regularly out of love and HOPE for the perpetrator. Some are in an abusive relationship and don’t even realize it.  Other families experience domestic violence continuously and do not know how or are afraid to get out of the situation. Whatever the case, it’s important to take action and seek help if you are in an abusive relationship.

On Wednesday, November 5, 2013, Bethany Arceneaux was abducted by her ex-boyfriend and father of her two-year old son, Scott Thomas.

After the alleged abduction, family members and police officers searched for Bethany for two days before someone gave the family members a tip about a vacant house in a nearby field where the Thomas’ car was located. As the search team took off on four wheelers toward the house, they began to hear screams begging for help. They then found and entered the house, at which point Thomas began stabbing Bethany. One of her armed family members then shot Thomas, killing him, and took Bethany to safety.

Luckily, In June, Arceneaux filed secured a restraining order against Thomas after an incident during which he allegedly locked her in a house and threatened to kill both her and her son. Many people don’t seek restraining orders out of fear or because they don’t believe a “piece of paper” can save them. While it’s true that the paper itself couldn’t have saved Bethany, by filing a report against Thomas and securing the restraining order, police and family members were on notice of potential threats of serious or deadly harm. Essentially, this could be the reason the search team knew who to look for and the possible location.

But what if she had not secured the restraining order? Reportedly, in the past, Thomas had choked Bethany, dragged her by her hair and held her and her son hostage threatening to kill them. “He put a knife to my neck countless times,” she said in one report.  What if this had been just another one of those countless times, and she hadn’t said anything? Would she have been rescued? Would anyone know who her abductor was? or would the search team still be trying to figure it out now?

Domestic violence is real. And sadly, many people are being abused daily and haven’t had the courage to do what Bethany did and seek help before it was too late.  And sadly, many of those without that courage will not have as fortunate of an ending that Bethany did.