Patricia Dewbre has something to say about the deadly nature of domestic violence, and she hopes lots of acquaintances from her youth in Love County will come out to hear her keynote speech at the second annual Candlelight Vigil at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 at Marietta School Auditorium.
“I survived an incident meant to leave me dead. I want to help other people stop keeping their own situation a dark, dirty secret in the closet and understand they can get help and get out of it,” she said.
Four years ago, Dewbre’s ex-husband shot her in the head then turned the gun on himself. He perished. She lived.
When sharing her recovery struggle on Oct. 8, Dewbre will be able to direct those needing help across the street to the stone building at 318 W. Main where the Love County Victim Advocate offers free and comprehensive assistance in escaping violent households.
“We all allow things to happen to us by being too nice instead of standing up,” she explained. I waited 10 years into my marriage to say, ‘I can’t handle this.’ He went off the deep end and decided we both should die and shot out my right eye.
“My life flashed before my eyes. I lay there bleeding to death. Without God’s help, I could not have crawled to the neighbors and saved my life.”
The incident, which took place in Lebanon in 2005, left Dewbre half blind, half deaf, and with balance problems. Now making her home at Mead, she supports herself by buying and selling antiques.
She is frequently called upon to speak to students, professionals in domestic violence recovery programs, even perpetrators in anger management classes.
Dewbre, 60, the daughter of Marie Dewbre and the late Mack Dewbre, was raised in Courtney Flats, attended Turner School, and graduated from high school in California where she built a successful career as an insurance agent.
Asked for her advice for teenage girls just starting to date, Dewbre answered, “Watch for violent language directed at them and for someone who tries to control their behavior or movements and how it makes them feel. They will feel at least a little offended, but they need to guard against thinking that if they really like the guy they should ignore their own feelings.
“They should ask themselves if they really want to be with someone who controls them because, if they rebel later, he will up the ante, slapping and doing whatever it takes to control them even more.”
The Candlelight Vigil will honor the memories of Love County residents known to have have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence: Cheryl Hauk Smith, 1987; Melissa Patty, 2000.
Victim advocate Yolanda Gay will give her survivor testimony. Music will be performed by Pemberton & Langley.
Agencies and individuals in Love County will be recognized for their support of the Love County Victim Advocate office.
First National Bank will provide bottled water. Other snack refreshments will also be served. Rodney’s Flowers will provide stage decorations.
The victim advocate office may be contacted at 276-2042. The 24-hour hotline number is 226-6424.
The office is affiliated with Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma, a United Way agency.