Survivor of dating violence turns tragedy into triumph

March 31, 2012 2:37:19 PM PDT
A young woman who survived two violent attacks by her ex-boyfriend told a conference in San Francisco how she turned her tragedy into triumph.

Johanna Orozco, 23, came to San Francisco from Ohio to tell her story about teen violence to a conference of 1,000 health professionals on Friday.

You may have seen Orozco on ABC's "The View," where she talked about the boyfriend she broke up with, who then attacked her twice and tried to destroy her five years ago.

"He came to my room one night and raped me at knife point," she says. After that, "he came to my house and shot me in the face."

Orozco has been through 12 surgeries and has more to go. The tattoo on her hand is a reminder of that day. "Butterflies mean new beginnings or rebirth," she says.

She took her experiences and pushed for tough laws in Ohio that require schools to educate teens about violence and dating. She's now a teen educator with a powerful message: Ask kids questions about their relationships.

"This is something the whole community, the whole world needs to get together and do something about it and make a change," says Orozco.

"If you are living with violence, it will come out as a health issue as well," says Esta Soler, president of Futures Without Violence, which led the national conference.

"Simply asking a question whether or not violence is present in your relationship can be a life-turning event for so many women and men," Soler says.

Orozco's life is certainly changing for the better. "I'm getting married to an amazing military man who has shown me the real definition of what love really is and how a relationship really is supposed to be," she says.


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