South Florida Domestic Violence Survivor Says Help Available Amid Pandemic

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Police say the number of domestic violence calls has increased during the pandemic, but they want victims to know help is always there.

One South Florida victim is helping get the word out about resources that are available.

The last two months of Marie Hernandez’s abusive relationship were a nightmare.

She said she dealt with physical fights, put out restraining orders, and noticed stalking behavior.

“I believed the abuser can change, and they don’t,” she said.

She had bruises and scars on her body that she said are from her ex-boyfriend, who she dated for four months.

“I thought it was cute for him to show up at my job and sit there and stare at me and call me 24/7,” she said. “I thought it was cute because at the end of the day when I got home, he was helping my family.”

Hernandez believed her family had no idea, until last February.

That’s when Hialeah police said he showed up at her house and stabbed her eight times.

Her mother was injured as well. Hernandez said ending the relationship can the be scariest part.

“It’s the moment they get out of the relationship,” she explained. “The abuser feels that they have lost control of their life and of you. So the danger happens out of it.”

Saul Duprey racked up several charges, including attempted murder.

“I want to assure every victim that we are here for you,” said July Fernandez, a sergeant with Hialeah Police Department’s Special Victims Unit.

She explained why they have gotten more calls than normal about domestic violence during the pandemic.

“Now people are home, you also have individuals that have lost their employment and now that tension rises. Now you have the kids not being at school, so their whole norm of their day has shifted,” Fernandez said.

She wants to assure every victim, no matter who they are, that the department’s services are available.

“It’s not only for women, we do the same for males,”
Fernandez said. “You have both. We do have male victims.”

In addition to Hernandez getting protection, she also said she received therapy, and was offered a shelter.

Now a domestic violence survivor, she said there is a way out, but she knows it can be hard.

“You have to really want it,” she said. “You have to really want it, and unfortunately, I didn’t get to that 'want it.' I had to get to a drastic situation, a sad event, to be able to get the help.”

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