One former Ark City resident is using her story of domestic violence to speak out in hopes of arming others with the courage to stop the violence.
Ann Hotchkin was the victim of domestic violence in early February in an incident that left her face badly damaged.
In the short few weeks since the incident, her injuries have become less pronounced, but doctors have told her it can take between 6 and 12 months to be completely healed.
However, there are other ways that the physical in which Hotchkin will have to heal.
“Makeup can do wonders. One day (is) a good day, (the) next horrible. I immediately got into trauma therapy. And have went regularly since attack,” Hotchkin said.
While she continues to heal, friend have set up ways in which people can donate to her medical expenses, including an event at Britt’s at the end of March.
Domestic violence affects more than 10 million people each year — this number is only in relation to violence between intimate partners.
These instances of violence are gender-blind, as 1 in 3 women are affected, 1 in 4 men are as well.
Her nose and jaw were damaged, along with one of her orbital bones being broken her teeth were damaged as well.
While the swelling has gone down, there is much healing left to be done, physically speaking.
“(I’m waiting) to see if my orbital muscle will free itself, but my sinus on left side are collapsed so I have very little hearing in my left ear,” Hotchkin said.
Surgery will be required to fix part of the damage left behind, but Hotchkin remains grateful for surviving the incident.
“I’m alive I almost died… And I truly believe if I hadn’t gotten out of the car when he finally let go of me he would have killed me and possibly himself,” she said.
“A domestic violence victim can HIDE abuse. It’s more than physical, there is emotional also that only leaves marks on the inside,” Hotchkin said.
Since the incident, she has been encouraging her friends to help others watch for signs of domestic violence in their own lives.
“With the right amount of makeup, almost any domestic violence survivor can hide the physical scars,” she said.
“(There are apps) you can get on your phone, it has warning signs, signs of healthy relationships, and danger assessment test. This is for men and women.”
Road to recovery
Hotchkin continues to emphasis the fact that others face the same healing process that she is currently going through.
The physical aspect of being a victim of domestic violence can be expensive.
“Women that face brutal attacks similar to mine that don’t have health insurance (depend upon) the victims compensation fund, which you have to be approved for,” she said.
This fund is capped off at $25,000.
“So what happens to the women that have no funds? They are left with permanent scars. It’s so sad — breaks my heart,” she said.
“There just no resources for surgeries. So they and (I) are left with fractured teeth, broken jaws and nerve pain that requires a neurologist.”
“Someone needs to be an advocate at a higher state level for women and men who are victims and survivors of domestic violence. Seems so unfair to leave someone who felt whole, physically, emotionally, and spiritually broken,” Hotchkin said.
Walk by faith
Her recovery has been fueled by faith and helped with therapy.
“Today I’m grieving my old life that I was happy with. This one now might be temporary but a nightmare. My faith is ONLY thing keeping me going,” Hotchkin said.
She calls this “inside healing” — a process that involves not only dealing with the incident itself, but her own addictions.
“I’m a grateful recovering alcoholic. (I have a) wonderful sponsor, amazing friends and support group , fantastic children and parents and most if all a big glorious God, who heals all.”
Hotchkin’s positive outlook in her life, despite the physical and emotional toll, has not deterred her determination to live by her faith, though.
“I’m not scared, there is a little fear but like I posted the other day, When I cannot see, I walk by faith. Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake, this wasn’t an act of God but is an opportunity to seek Him and grow more spiritually,” she said.
Blessings and Forgiveness
“I’m so blessed with an amazing friend Brit (Brittany Dunlap) who the day after just got in the car had no idea where I was but went in hunt to find me,” Hotchkin said.
For the time being, she is living in Wichita for recovery reasons, but her heart is in the Ark City community.
“I have worked in Ark City for 17 years and it is my home. I live the people, the community, and I know they love me. You don’t get that love from the community in Wichita other than the recovery community,” she said.
Part of that recovery is letting go of things such as resentment.
“Resentments keep us sick, and sickness can lead to relapse,” Hotchkin said.
“I ask for prayers for the person who did this to me, hatred never gets anyone anywhere. My life isn’t the only one temporarily destroyed, this affects many, many other innocent people also.”
“If I can forgive , I know others are capable also. Forgiveness is freedom. I chose to be free.”
Break The Silence. Stop The Violence.
One of the fundraisers scheduled by friends of Hotchkin will take place later this month, at Britt’s Sports Bar and Grill.
This event, called “Break The Silence. Stop The Violence.,” will feature a live auction, a silent auction, live music and more.
“We will be having a fundraiser/awareness event for Ann Hotchkin,” said Britt’s owner, Brittany Dunlap.
“Proceeds will go to the Woman’s Coalition of Battered Women and Sexual Assault Victims- Cowley County Unit and a portion to Ann as well to help cover cost of medical and living expenses during her lengthy recovery and surgeries that are going to be required.”
Tickets for the event are on sale now and are $15 in advance, the price goes up the night of the event.
Starting at 2 p.m. March 31, the event will kick off with the beginning of the silent auction.
Britt’s is located at 1419 N. Eighth St., event organizers can be reached at any of the following:
- Brittany Dunlap 620-506-7323
- Amanda Shelton 620-441-3970
- Jenny Segree 620-660-3937
- Shandon Weston 620-441-7611
In addition to the fundraiser at Britt’s, a GoFundMe fundraiser has been created to help Hotchkin with her medical expenses.
“She is expected to get surgery soon and the recovery is expected to be at least 6 weeks therefore, she will have no income coming in for a few months because she can’t work,” the fundraising organizer said.
It is likely that Hotchkin will not be able to work during her recovery.
“She will be applying for help with various domestic abuse groups to pay for various medical expenses. Any donations would be greatly appreciated and all will be going towards the expenses of her living and any medical assistance she needs while she can’t work,” the campaign page states.
This campaign can be found at www.gofundme.com/anns-surgery-and-recovery.