Domestic Violence Survivor Shares Her Story

Posted at: 04/09/2013 6:39 PM
Updated at: 04/09/2013 6:43 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 News) -- She’s told her story to Oprah, 20/20, and now to ABC 6 News. A victim of domestic violence, Teri Jenusa-Nicolai survived the unthinkable. But now, she’s sharing what she went through in the hopes of preventing it from happening to someone else.

"I walked in from a visit with my girls that they had with him and he tried to murder me,” said Jenusa-Nicolai.

He is Teri Jendusa-Nicolai’s ex-husband. A man with a good job, who seemed like he would make a good father, until their honeymoon. That’s when the abuse began. Guilt and isolation made her stay for three more years. Her two kids made her leave. But it was on a visit to pick up her kids from his house when the unthinkable happened.

"I was hit with a baseball bat at least a dozen times. I mean several times in the head. He then proceeded to duct tape my whole face, my wrists, my ankles,” said Jendusa-Nicolai.

He ended up stuffing her into a garbage can and locked her in an unheated storage closet. Fortunately, she had a cell phone and was able to call 9-1-1.

"I had been in there for like 21 hours and they found me and I was an hour from death,” said Jendusa-Nicolai.

She lost her toes to frostbite and suffered a miscarriage. Once in the hospital, she began talking about what she had gone through and eventually took her story across the country. A trip that has lasted 9 years. On Tuesday, it included a stop at a fundraiser for the Crisis Resource Center of Steele County.  

"If we can get help for those families and these children, especially the children because when they grow up they will know this isn't right and they will hopefully stop the cycle,” said Jendusa-Nicolai.

The Crisis Resource Center, or CRC, lost $56,000 in state funding in October. The money had been intended for its abused children’s program. A program that helps kids who have witnessed or been victims of abuse. Last year, the program helped 3,450 kids.

"We feel our services we offer are really essential because it helps them heal, it helps them realize they aren't the reason, they aren't to blame for the abuse that they've unfortunately been the victim of,” said Executive Director, Sara Colby.

For now, the center will have to rely on its community and people like Teri Jendusa-Nicolai for help. So it, in turn, can continue to help the abused children of Steele County.

"No, nobody deserves that, no body at all,” said Jendusa-Nicolai.

Jendusa-Nicolai’s ex-husband received a life sentence. She is remarried and lives in Wisconsin with her three kids.