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'I don't want my daughter to come home in a body bag' | Sevierville woman breaks free from 11 years of domestic abuse

A Sevierville woman said she suffered years of physical and mental abuse from her husband, and now wants to help others.

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — Some of the images and sound in this story may be too disturbing for certain viewers.

A Sevierville woman spoke out after suffering what she said were years of physical and mental abuse from her husband.

The statistics for domestic abuse are alarming. The YWCA says 91% of domestic violence victims are female and one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

►READ MORE: Domestic violence victims have resources in East Tennessee

Natalie Compton wants to encourage other victims facing violence in the home get help. She says she stood in the shadows for years while her husband abused her because she didn't know what would happen to her children.

Now that her husband, Anthony Compton, has been charged, she's on a mission.

Natalie Compton said the abuse started months into her and her husband's relationship. 

In a video obtained by 10News, Anthony Compton can be heard allegedly screaming at Natalie Compton, "You put my kids anywhere near danger, it's gonna cost you your ******* life."

Compton said this is what she heard from her husband when she tried to leave two weeks before what she called "the worst day" in February 2019.

Natalie Compton took pictures of bruises on her face and neck after that February event and shared them on social media.

Credit: WBIR
Credit: WBIR
Credit: WBIR

"I had no idea what was going on for the most part until it was over with," Natalie Compton said.

Anthony Compton was arrested and charged in Sevier County with aggravated kidnapping and assault.

"My oldest actually heard the event, he heard me screaming for help, he was just too afraid to get out of the bed," Natalie Compton explained.

She was taken to the hospital after the event.

"But you know I came home from the hospital and I still had to be a mom," Natalie Compton said.

She and her husband are in the middle of a divorce after their 11 years of marriage and she said she stayed for her children.

"You get stuck when you're a stay at home mom and you just you can't support yourself or your three kids," Natalie Compton explained. "And you just don't know what else to do."

But said she had to break the cycle.

"I don't want them to think it's normal," Natalie Compton assured. "I don't want my sons to act like that and I don't want my daughter to come home in a body bag."

The YWCA said Natalie's thinking is common.

"It's hard to leave because we find reasons to stay because of the kids or economic abuse, a lot of reasons on that power and control wheel that the abusers use to keep that person controlled and maintained," Jeela Taylor, a YWCA victim advocate for domestic violence, said. 

They have advocates for this exact situation.

"We know that those victims are out there, but not only that, but we want them to know that advocates are out there too," Taylor noted.

Natalie Compton also said she hopes to one day be an advocate for women who are in her same situation.

We reached out to Anthony Compton's lawyer for comment but did not hear back.

The YWCA explained there are several other types of abuse that may not be easily detected.

There's physical, emotional, economic, sexual and psychological, but all usually start with emotional abuse.

They say the main way to recognize abuse is spotting a pattern.

"So if you are consistently being controlled or being isolated, if you feel intimidated, or you're being manipulated," Taylor explained.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence of any kind, there is help. Please call the national domestic violence hotline number, 1-800-799-7233 . Lines are open 24/7. It's free and confidential.

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