Sioux Falls, SD
With domestic violence at the heart of this week's salon shooting in Sioux Falls, a South Dakota woman is still haunted by the violence she endured at the hands of her abuser.
She hopes others in abusive relationships will seek help before the violence spirals into another tragedy like we saw unfold on Tuesday.
Jamie Small suffered a broken nose when she was allegedly punched by her now-estranged husband last New Year's Eve. In the aftermath of the Cost Cutters shooting, she's thankful her abusive relationship didn't end at the point of a gun.
It took a black eye to open the eyes of Small about the dangers of domestic abuse.
"It's something I never, ever want to have to go through again," Small said.
The physical wounds have healed, but the emotional ones haven't.
"I'm always constantly looking over my shoulder, making sure he's not following me. It's a scary thing to have to go through," Small said.
Small filed a protection order against her husband. But she says the paperwork doesn't provide abuse victims with peace of mind.
"You hold onto them, I guess, call the police if the person comes to you or tries to contact you, but otherwise, you give them a paper cut and that's pretty much all that it's good for," Small said.
Small empathizes with all the innocent people caught up in a case of abuse that escalated to gun fire at Cost Cutters.
"I was talking to the people at my work about it and just thankful that it didn't happen to me that way, but I feel horrible for them because that shouldn't happen," Small said.
Small now carries mace and a taser with her at all times. But she says the best protection for abuse victims is to get out of the relationship as quickly as possible.
"I'm thankful mine didn't end in anyone dying. I'm really thankful for that, but yeah, just get help if you're in that situation," Small said.
Small credits the Compass Center in Sioux Falls with helping her deal with her physical abuse.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Small will be taking part in a September 29 kickoff event in Mitchell.
For information about agencies that help South Dakota domestic violence victims, click here.