JAMESTOWN-Chautauqua County Health Director Christine Schuyler says she struggled to leave a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.
Schuyler detailed her torment for the first time publicly at a domestic violence event Friday.
“I thought a baby would make it better, but a baby didn’t make it better and the abuse escalated,” Schuyler recalled. “Finally, after eight years of marriage, I found what I needed to get myself and my children out and I found myself.”
The county’s top health official nearly broke down as she discussed finding her value and self-worth through education and her strong relationship with her children.
Schuyler spoke critically about the way domestic violence is perceived in the eye of the public.
“I still can’t fathom why on earth our society continues to think that demeaning, bullying, harassing, beating, raping or killing someone who you supposedly care about is somehow more acceptable than doing those things to a stranger.”
Other notables who attended the event included Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings, Project Crossroads Program Manager Mrs. Elizabeth Bracey, Domestic Violence Jamestown Police Officer John Rader, County Executive Vince Horrigan, Jamestown Director of Development Vince DeJoy and City Council President Greg Rabb along with representatives from Senator Cathy Young’s and Congressman Tom Reed’s offices.
According to the New York State Office For The Prevention Of Domestic Violence, domestic violence disproportionately affects women and children.
The state also says the number of orders of protection required to be reported in the state’s protective order registry reached a five-year high.