Domestic violence survivor shares story in hope of helping others

A domestic violence survivor is now sharing her journey to freedom to help those in similar situations.
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 12:51 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A domestic violence survivor is now sharing her journey to freedom to help those in similar situations.

Mariah Means is a mother of two. Her maternal instincts have birthed a passion to become a voice for other women who have been silenced as she was two years ago.

In September 2021, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was called to a scene where 33-year-old Gregory Lyle was shot and killed after he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house through the window at 2:30 a.m. and assaulted her.

Means says she is that ex-girlfriend.

She was left with bruises on her chin and arm after Means said she had to fight for her life.

“He broke into my bedroom window, beat me with a metal pipe crowbar,” Means recalls. “My daughter was sleeping on the couch.”

Means had a protection order against Lyle, which is one reason she says she is frustrated with the court system.

She says every case is different.

“Some things in some cases are unorthodox,” Means explains. “You have to be very creative with the ways that you protect these women. A lot of women don’t want to be there. It may look like they’re staying, but they’re really not. They just cannot get out.”

Means says she wishes there was more compassion when she made a plea for help.

“I understand that child services is there to protect the women, but there also needs to be some type of way to protect the mother as well,” says Means. “Just because you take the children out of the home because it may not be safe, but then you’re leaving the mother there to still be abused or be back in that situation.”

On top of getting a protection order before the September 2021 incident, Means took domestic violence and parenting support classes, but the efforts did not help.

She says there needs to be more resources for victims and more beds available at shelters.

“I was a woman; there was nowhere for me to go,” Means says of the shelters, which were all full. “I had to leave Cincinnati, Ohio, to find somewhere to be safe.”

FOX19 NOW’s Payton Marshall called several shelters in the Tri-State.

Either no one answered the phone, or when someone picked up, they said the shelter was full.

An average of 24 people are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The above stats show how crucial time is, and time is not something victims are afforded.

“Domestic violence is not ok,” Means expresses. “Because [my daughter] did have to see me with it, and if we don’t break that curse, we never know what can keep going.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, there are resources available on the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website.

Call 1-800-799-SAFE to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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