It’s an issue that plagues people all across the country, especially women.

Domestic violence can dramatically impact a victims’ health, often leading to drug abuse, weight gain and depression.

It’s a scary situation Colorado resident Krystal Ryan experienced for six years before finally finding the courage to leave.

Back in 2010, Ryan began dating a man who over the course of the years, became controlling and verbally and physically abusive.

‘It was hard to believe that I was free, that I had any freedom,” Ryan said. “… Everything that I did was determined by him. He was very controlling from what I hate, my life was his.

Ryan said the signs of an abusive relationship were always there but she chose to ignore him.

Ryan was abandoned at a young age and the idea of leaving a man she cared about, though undeserving of her, was devastating.

All she ever wanted was a family.

“The fear of being alone was always a big issue with me,” Ryan said.

But in time, her boyfriend’s dark side started to surface more and more. The first time he put his hands on Ryan, they were in front of a group of friends.

She said things only escalated from there and knew she needed to get out of the abusive relationship.

It was ultimately her young son that gave her the courage to leave.

After six years in a scary relationship, she packed as suitcase, devised a plan to get out and called Safe House Denver for Help.

This was a move that she believes was best for her and her son.

Ryan has a message for women dealing with the same struggle.
"You have to take that first step,” she said. “You have to realize it probably won't get any better as long as you stay there.

“And don't be ashamed. Use the resources that are for us.”

There are a number of local resources for victims of domestic violence: