Decatur Community Gathers for Serious Discussion on Domestic Violence

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Today, Courtney Queeney, stands tall, free, a survivor of domestic abuse.

"I'm lucky enough to be here and I want to speak about my experiences," said Queeney.

Experiences that almost took her life.

"In August of 2011, my boyfriend beat me, kicked me, choked me, punched me, threw me into furniture."

Thursday evening, she spoke proudly before dozens at the Decatur Public Library. 

"A Night of Awareness" was the name of the event, hosted by Dove, Inc., a Decatur-based shelter for men and women escaping violent relationships.  Leaders of the organization asked Courtney to come and inspire community residents to act against abuse if they see it, and to encourage victims to get help.

"I called 911.  I went to the hospital, and after 3 months of him harassing me, I obtained a protection of order through the Illinois Domestic Violence Court."

Proof that freedom is possible.  And her message couldn't come at a better time.  Domestic Violence Awareness Month is in October.

"The awareness is what it's all about,” said community leader, Teri Ducy.   “We have to talk about it."

Talking about it may be the hardest step, because it's the first step.  But, it's a step you don't have to take alone.

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