'Stop the Violence' gives domestic violence victims a voice

A special story: surviving domestic violence

ABILENE, Texas - Saturday, the fifth annual "Stop the Violence" rally will do its part to address violence in local neighborhoods. The event includes personal stories from survivors of domestic violence.

Geana McLendon will be speaking at this year's event. Seven years ago, McLendon broke up with her boyfriend. She said it was then that he "snapped."

"When I tried to leave is when he poured the gasoline on me and I just tried to get to some water to get it out of my eyes because it was burning so hard. And that's when I went to the restroom and he came in behind me and shut the door and threw a lighter on me when I was in the shower, and then I just engulfed in flames," said McLendon.

McLendon was in the hospital for four months. She had multiple skin grafts to replace the skin that had burned off her upper body. Her six year old son waited for her to come home.

"The odds were against me when all this happened and I really wasn't supposed to pull through," said McLendon.

Now she tells her story in hopes that she will help other women who are too afraid to get help.

"I was lucky, but the next person might not be as lucky," McLendon said.

 It's stories like McLendon's that encouraged Pastor Chad Mitchell to create Stop the Violence.

"Can we ultimately stop the violence? I'm not saying that we can, but I think we can hinder it," said Mitchell. 

Mitchell hopes by hearing victims speak out about their experience others may have the courage to do the same.

"You just got to ask for help. We will never know your situation until you speak about it and until you share it. And so we're willing to help anybody and everybody we possibly can," said Mitchell.

Stop the Violence will be held at the Taylor County Coliseum Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. The event is free to the public and will include many activities for people of all ages. All donations or proceeds from t-shirt sales will go to the Regional Crime Victim Crisis Center.

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