Safety plan key in preventing domestic violence

Last week's tragedy in Brandon underscores the importance of having a plan in place.

Across America, according to statistics, three women are mourned every day after being killed due to domestic violence.  On Friday, two of those women were killed together in Brandon.

"When you fall in love, you're not falling in love with an abuser," said Pat Riley-Sanderson, an adult advocate for Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA).

She never met Lisa Fuillerat or Samara Routenberg, but she has worked with victims of domestic violence for over a decade.

"’Oh he's just talking, oh he doesn't mean it’, but we take every word that's said and believe it," Riley-Sanderson said.

A sixth-grade math teacher, Lisa and her estranged husband of 28 years, Vicente Fuillerat, were in the middle of a long divorce.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says Vicente broke into the home the women lived in together armed with a shotgun and wearing a bulletproof vest.  He is blamed for killing the women before turning the gun on himself.

"What we try to educate on is the fact that once there's a separation, that that can be the most dangerous time for a victim," Riley-Sanderson said.

The women’s attorney said in a statement to 10News that both feared this. It may have been why they were armed when Vicente broke into the home. Riley-Sanderson says women need to have a safety plan in cases of domestic violence. - a plan for something as simple as how to escape.

"We may not be able to stop the crazy, but we may be able to know that crazy is going to occur and what we can do in response to that," Riley-Sanderson said.

It's an epidemic that touches lives in every walk of life, in every part of the country.

"Between 2001 and 2012, when you compare the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan almost twice as many women were killed in America during that exact same time," said Mo Venouziou who works with CASA.

The first step in any safety planning, the experts say, is to reach out for help.  CASA has a 24-hour domestic violence helpline: (800)-621-4202.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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