Military spouse shares story of surviving domestic violence, finding new lease on life with help of Fort Bragg program

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- In light of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, one Raleigh woman is sharing her testimony of survival and hope.

Victoria Tyler recalls the abuse starting the moment her marriage began in 2006. "It escalated to pushing and shoving and then it became holes being punched in my walls and me being punched."

Tyler had married a man who was in the Navy. This meant the young couple had to leave their home in Wilmington and start moving to different states, isolating Tyler from family and friends.

"My ex-husband has bit me in the face. I've been slapped, punched, kicked," Tyler said. All this while raising to young children; Tyler says she felt trapped and was stuck in the dangerous relationship for 10 years.

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Tyler told ABC11 that the very last attack could've turned into her last day on earth, recounting the moments her abusive husband attacked her in front of her own mother.

"He choked me, punched me in the face, slammed my head into the wall, and started beating me in front of my mom," Tyler recalled. She goes on to say that her ex-husband then, "went upstairs to get his gun and I went behind him to grab my cell phone. The only reason he didn't shoot me was because I had already called the police."

That was the moment Tyler left with her kids and moved to Robeson County to live near family, officially filing for divorce. "I'm lucky to be alive today," Tyler said.

While in the Sandhills, Tyler found refuge and resources at the Family Advocacy Program, a program under Army Community Service on Fort Bragg.

The program offers soldiers and families parenting and life-skill classes, along with providing victim advocates who can offer crisis intervention, safety assessments, coordinating of emergency services, and assistance through medical, investigative, and legal process, according to a Fort Bragg news release.

Tyler told ABC11 her case worker at FAP helped her back on her feet, offering their assistance with paperwork and documents. "Just being around people who understood what you've been through, and they weren't judging," said Tyler.

The mother of two would also find love while being back in the Fort Bragg area, marrying her best friend, Chase, two weeks ago. Chase is an Army veteran who was stationed on Fort Bragg.

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"For two and a half weeks to my best friend, Chase. And I'm safe, I'm safe, now," Tyler said.

The newlywed credits the Fort Bragg program for saving her and her children's lives, adding they're all still going to counseling to cope with what they endured.

A Family Advocacy Program official said victim advocates are available 24/7 for victims of domestic violence.

The Victim Advocate Hotline can be called at (910) 322-3418. For other resources for soldiers and loved ones, you can go to the FAP website for other details.
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