BATON ROUGE- Louisiana is once again at the top of another negative list. The state is second in the nation for domestic violence homicides.
This time of year, those incidents typically skyrocket. Simply put, the holidays can bring out the best and worst in folks. Mix strife with not a lot of money and those familiar with domestic violence say you have a recipe for disaster.
"I really thought I was going to die," domestic violence victim Breah Monday said.
Monday doesn't take life for granted. The mother of an eight-year-old says she narrowly escaped death at the hands of Chaddrick Piper. Piper was just convicted after he tried to kill her. He won't see freedom for a long time after he was prosecuted as a habitual offender.
"He got arrested five times in 17 months," Monday said. "He kept getting out and kept finding me with my restraining order, and everything that was in place didn't keep him away."
Monday credits her survival from going to authorities. Pictures of her bumps and bruises are what she's trying to forget about. She claims Piper strangled her so hard, it popped blood vessels in her eye and that's not all. At one point she said he tried to cut off a tattoo off her back that bore his name.
"He said I didn't deserve it anymore," Monday said.
Her case was successfully prosecuted by Domestic Violence Prosecutor Melanie Fields. According to Fields, typically they'll deal with about 400 cases per month. In December, that number goes up to about 600.
"It is attributable to children being off of school, and at home and families being closer together," Fields said.
Social worker and Domestic Violence Coordinator Suzanne Hamilton says people need to know when they need to get out. That applies to women and men who can also be victims.
"Devise a safety plan," Hamilton said. "Have a bag packed. Have a phone in a room that's able to be locked. Have a code word if you have friends or children that they know."
For Monday, she got out just in time.
"Love doesn't conquer all," she said. "If you know in your heart of hearts that you've tried in that relationship and it's not getting better, it's time to go."
Piper is currently serving an eight year sentence. Monday plans to move out of state before he is released.
If you know someone who needs help with domestic violence over the holidays, the Iris Domestic Violence Center never closes.
The hotline number is 225-389-3001.
You can call toll free at 1-800-541-9706.
National hotline: 1-800-799-7233.