NEW HAVEN -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And in New Haven, survivors are not putting up with the abuse.
Last year, 1,400 men were arrested for domestic violence in the Elm City. Over the last three months, New Haven’s courts received nearly 1,000 referrals for family violence arrests.
Among the victims, was a woman who went public on Wednesday with her struggle to escape abuse.
Ingred Sanchez had been happily dating and living with a man for six months until one night at a bar she passed a bowl of lemons to another man sitting next to her. That’s when she felt her boyfriend’s hand under the table.
Becoming emotional, Sanchez said, “He whispered to me in my ear ‘what are you doing. You are disrespecting me.’ I said ‘no I'm not. I'm just being helpful somebody asking for something at our table.’”
On the walk back to their apartment, his behavior escalated, she said.
“He shoved me into a bush and told me do not ever, ever speak to another man out in public when I'm with him.”
After repeated abuse, she tried to get him to leave her apartment for good, and grew increasingly afraid.
“He would tap on the windows and tell me ‘I'm here. Don't go to sleep.’”
Not sleeping and worrying about her two young children grew more than tiresome..
“I tried going to the police station, to file a complaint, file a restraining order, but nothing ever happened,” said Sanchez.
Why? Her now-ex boyfriend's family members were police officers.
“He told me that he could kill me and my kids and he would not serve not even one minute behind bars and that he would never feel the handcuffs on him,” recalled Sanchez, who added that “I knew I had to leave.”
One day, after Sanchez and the perpetrator were arguing, he stabbed her with a butcher’s knife in the stomach, but he still wasn’t jailed. She took three months to recuperate, all while he was still living in the apartment. She said she would move her dresser and bed in front of her bedroom door and snuggle with her children at night.
“He left at 5:45 one morning and by 6 o'clock in the morning, I was at Union Station heading back to New York, never to look back,” she said.
After years away from New Haven, Sanchez and her children moved back to the city five years ago. One of the people she encountered: her former boyfriend and attacker on the New Haven Green.
“He had become an alcoholic and a homeless man,” said Sanchez, who described his condition as karma.