DUNWOODY, Ga. — A Georgia woman who was shot by her ex-husband now advocates for survivors all across the country.
Kimya Motley, Founder of Haven of Light International is a domestic violence survivor-turned-advocate. 11Alive spoke with her shortly after the lives of a Dunwoody family were changed forever by fatal domestic violence.
"This is just heartbreaking all the way around, for everybody involved," Motley explained.
On Sunday night, Malachi Williams lost his sister and mother at the hands of his sister's boyfriend right in front of his eyes. That injured brother now says his sister was trying to get away from her boyfriend when he opened fire.
Police said Malachi's mother Danyel Sims used her body as a shield when she tried to save both Malachi and her 22-year-old daughter, Crystal Williams. Malachi said his sister, Crystal, was arguing with her live-in boyfriend, 23-year-old Justin Deion Turner, and was trying to get away from him to go home with her mother.
Turner, who had previous warrants for arrest in Gwinnett County and Conyers, was arrested and is now facing murder charges for the fatal shooting. According to a Stone Mountain Police report, he almost sideswiped an officer leading them on a high-speed chase.
For Motley, the Dunwoody case brings back old memories.
Motley's ex-husband shot her multiple times and her then 10-year-old daughter during a daycare drop-off. Motley said it's important to understand the grooming signs that lead up to domestic violence.
"It’s all about power and control," she explained. "Domestic violence and intimate partner violence is all about power and control, and they start with small little insidious ways."
Motley said statistics that show one in three women have experienced some form of physical violence in her lifetime.
Motley listed some takeaways:
- The first red flag is when your new partner appears to be Prince Charming and showers you with everything you think you want. Then, that is followed for a push for exclusive commitment.
- Victims should not tell a potential partner about their previous abuse too soon because they can use it against them.
- Other things to look for is if the person is very controlling over their partner's behavior.
Motley said it could be as simple as saying they like the way their partner looks in a particular outfit, but then they may ask that they only wear it for them. She also said making negative comments about friends and family can also be an attempt to change their partner's behavior.
She said that victims often stick around hoping that the prince charming they met, in the beginning, will return.
Motley said people who want to leave an abusive situation should never do one thing.
"Never tell the perpetrator that you want to leave. Never give any kind of indication that you want to go. You absolutely need a safety plan," she recommended.
Oftentimes, family and friends who want to help get attacked by the abuser, as well, when they try to protect the victim. Instead, Motley recommended that loved ones steer the victim to a professional who is equipped to handle these situations.
An online fundraiser has been set up to help Malachi with hospital expenses and and provide funds for both funerals.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, resources are available at:
Haven of Light International: http://www.havenoflightint.org/
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence: https://gcadv.org/