Domestic violence survivor speaks at VUU about awareness

Published: Oct. 28, 2015 at 3:22 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2015 at 3:18 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A domestic violence victim's incredible story of survival has inspired people around the nation and on Tuesday night she was in Richmond using tragedy to educate about the dangers of domestic violence.

Christy Sims' boyfriend attacked her burning off part of her face. The horrific encounter is one the Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Virginia Union University felt students needed to know. Educating others has become a mission very dear to Christy Sims, who flew in from Atlanta to explain why she is not a victim, but a survivor.

There are tools to protect you from a violent attack, but what if you can't see the attack coming, or worse yet, the attacker is someone who you love and trust? Sims has lived with that horror since April 2013 when her on-again, off-again boyfriend tricked her into coming toward a bathroom and then doused her with an industrial strength drain cleaner, burning 20 percent of her skin completely off.
Though she's left with the scars, that's in the past. What's here and now is a woman sharing her story of survival and showing off her scars to show people the warning signs of domestic violence.

"That's why I go all over the country speaking, because I realize something this drastic happening to me could not have been just about me," Sims said.

Which is what makes her story so powerful. It is about so many people. The National Coalition of Domestic Violence says nearly 20 people every minute are the victims of domestic violence by an intimate partner in the U-S.

"What she said is that you can't help anybody else until you learn to help yourself," counselor Terri Ceaser said.

"We have to protect our women, so her story had to be heard just for that reason," event organizer Orlando Allen added.

Sims said one of the big takeaways she wants everybody to know, is that as a society, we tend to ask the wrong questions about domestic violence.

"The wrong question is,'Why did she stay, why did he stay, why did they stay?' Because the question in and of itself is judgmental," Sims explained. "You're putting the focus on, you're putting the blame and the guilt on the actual victim.  Instead of asking the question, 'Why is that person abusing that person and what can we do to help them?'"

Sims launched the Christy Sims Foundation to raise money to help educate people on awareness and prevention.

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12