PCAO recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

FLORENCE, AZ (October 2nd, 2023) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office is putting a spotlight on victims, their resilience in what they’ve overcome, and highlighting available resources.

In 2022, the Pinal County Attorney’s Victim Services Division provided services to more than 2,200 victims of domestic violence.

“[Domestic violence] leaves scars that are not always visible, but are always deeply felt,” said County Attorney Kent Volkmer.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a way to unite advocates from across the country, while highlighting available resources.

“We must stand together to recognize and support survivors who have endured this trauma,” Volkmer said.

Volkmer noted that it’s believed nearly 70% of domestic violence incidents are not reported to authorities.

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office joined A New Leaf and the Apache Junction Police Department for a Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and Family Day to kickoff this important month.

The main speaker at this year’s kickoff event was Vanessa Martinez, a survivor who bravely told her story.

“I’m blessed because I’m actually blessed to be here and to be alive today,” Martinez said.

Martinez detailed a terrifying, and nearly fatal, incident when her ex shot her in the head on September 11th, 2021, the same day as her daughter’s birthday party.

“[I] start to enter my home and my ex approaches me with a crazed look in his eye,” she said.

Martinez said her ex accused her of being with another man, and pulled out a gun and shot her in the head, just beneath her right temple lobe.

“I flatlined in the ambulance on the way to the hospital,” Martinez said.

Martinez shared her story to inspire others and to let other victims know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She knows all too well how difficult it is to escape a bad situation.

“I hate that question, ‘why did you stay? Why didn’t you just leave?” she said. “Because leaving is easier said than done.”

Martinez has physically recovered, but is focused on a mission of helping other victims.

“Helping others in the situation that I was in is my motivation,” Martinez said. “You’re not alone.”

Martinez is determined to help anyone and everyone she can reach.

“I believe my story can and will change many lives,” she said.  “I’m here for a reason.”

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-799-7233.