Family violence is up in Austin and Travis County and prosecuting these cases aren't always easy and the process can be long and daunting for victims.
A survivor talks about her frightening journey.
"Even though I was going to leave someone who was going to hurt me, to actually put my stuff in a bag and walk out of my house and know that I had to stand up for myself was absolutely petrifying," Family violence survivor Lori said.
After 13 years, Lori said she had had enough.
"To the point of holding a butcher knife to my throat, grabbing my arm, kicking the dog, mentally abusive, sexually abusive," Lori said.
The 36-year-old said the last straw came in September when he punched a hole in the wall.
"Instead of hitting me in the face, he went," Lori said. "I remember a police officer coming in and saying, Do you see that hole in the wall? I said yes. That is a sign that he is trying to control you. And the next time, that hole is going to be your face."
A 30 day emergency protective order was filed. In November, a judge granted another protective order, one good for two years. It prohibited all contact. Over the following months, Lori said this piece of paper didn't stop her ex, Trey McClelland from harassing her.
She said he sent her texts and emails and even tried to break into her house.She called Austin Police and gave them 15 different incidents in which four charges came out of them.
Last Monday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of violating a protective order and was given two years probation.
"When you meet somebody's that's abusive, they don't come up to you and say, hi, I want to go on a date with you, slap," said Travis County Prosecutor Dimple Malhotra.
Malhotra handles family violence and said that protective orders are not used enough.
"With VPO's or violations of protective order, we want to get a conviction on every single case because we know what that means. This person is saying I'm flaunting the fact that I can still get to you that I can violate the court's order, no matter what the judge tells me, I'm still in control, that's what domestic violence is about,” said Malhotra.
Fear and intimidation is just a couple of reasons victims stay with their abusers. Experts said it takes a domestic violence victim five to seven times before they leave.
Even before any physical abuse takes place, there are red flags.
"Extreme jealousy, hypersensitivity, blaming others, playful use of force," said Jeannie Tomanetz.
Authorities said when physical abuse is not involved, police intervention may not get immediate results.
"We work on those cases just as hard even if they don't get prosecuted but they mean something to us because when we do something with it, we've got history and that history goes into court with them and it's something that can be used to show a process," said Sgt Sandy Hutchinson.
Lori now has a gun as well as other added security at her house. She also has a black Lab to protect her.
Lori said the system is long and discouraging but wants anyone watching to remember this, don't give up hope.
Lori meets with women and men twice a month to build inner strength and a support system.
"If I can help one person not to have to go through what I did," said Lori.
For more information about Lori’s support group email Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For 24/7 counseling, Call 267-SAFE.