SHELTON, Conn. (WTNH) — For over half a century, Rita Pompano faced abuse.
“I met him when I was 17 and I was never able to break free from him,” said Rita Pompano.
She married Ralph Pompano at 19 and says she stayed with him out of fear.
It escalated the last 7 months of their marriage.
“He was beating me up everyday and he was very sadistic about it. Terrible. I was full of black and blues. My head had bumps where he would pull my hair out,” said Rita.
Her heart drops when she hears of domestic violence cases like Monday’s murder-suicide in Hartford. Also, just over two weeks ago in Shelton, officers say they found Lisa Infante shot dead by her husband Thomas. Pompano says she’s lucky to be alive. “He always said if I left him he would track us down and he would kill me and he would kill our son.”
When she did leave, she says Ralph got angry and called their son, Anthony. “So Anthony went to the house and his father told him to sit on the couch. He drew the drapes he put on loud music and he took out a loaded gun and he terrorized Anthony to try and find out where I was hiding.”
So she says he ran out of the house.
“Anthony made a dash for the stairs and his father shot at him and the bullet went right passed his head.”
She says he was arrested four years ago for the incident and died in prison in March. Rita used the non-profit Umbrella Center to help her leave. She now considers herself a survivor, but can not shake the fear.
“That kind of abuse you never forget it’s always with you,” said Rita.
The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence says every situation is different, but there are 3 things you can do to start leaving an abusive relations…
1. Call the statewide domestic violence hotline (888-774-2900 English; 844-831-9200 Spanish) to speak with a certified domestic violence counselor about all available options to help keep the victim safe whether remaining in or ending the relationship (e.g. shelter, identifying resources, restraining orders).
2. Establish what supports you have around you, such as family, friends, or the counselor at the local domestic violence organization so that they can be a sounding board and help you gather what you’ll need to stay safe.
3. Prior to leaving, be sure to use your supports and the local domestic violence organization so that you can identify ways to say safe as ending the relationship is the most dangerous time.