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New website helps domestic violence victims

PHOENIX — October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and victims in Arizona have a new tool to help them end their ordeal.

The Maricopa Association of Governments, along with several local agencies, have created a website to help victims.

The website, FindDVServices, includes an online map to help victims find a shelter, a hospital and financial, social and legal services.

“An interactive web map is now available to guide victims and their supporters to victim advocates and other resources,” said Barbara Marshall, Chair of the Association’s Domestic Violence Council.

It could help former victims, like Celeste Plumlee. She finally broke off a 9-year-long abusive relationship with her boyfriend 12 years ago.

He said he loved her, but Plumlee remembers it differently.

“I was threatened, I was strangled. He punched me in the stomach during my second pregnancy,” she recalled. “He accused me, he undermined me, he raped me, and essentially, he hated me throughout the relationship.”

Despite all the abuse, Plumlee says she never called the police.

Although she has had several other relationships with men in the 12 years since she left, Plumlee thinks the abuse will affect her for the rest of her life.

“I’m thinking there’s a good chance that I will be single for the rest of my life,” Plumlee said. “I might not ever be able to in any way feel like I’m giving up any part of myself in order to be with someone else.”

Plumlee said that she’s telling her story now in the hopes it may help save other women from going through the same ordeal.