Phoenix, AZ: Domestic Violence Survivor Shares Story of Hope to Help During COVID-19

Phoenix, AZ (STL.News) Domestic violence knows no age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status.  One in four women and one in seven men have experienced domestic violence, and cases are on the rise — up 15% this month in Phoenix.

This is Kimberley Catalano’s story:

“Being that I came from a childhood where I was sexually, physically, emotionally, and psychologically abused by my father, starting at the age of two-and-a-half, I had a high tolerance of what pain and hurt and what abuse felt like,” Catalano explained.

A few years after her father’s abuse began, Catalano’s oldest brother started abusing her.  By the age of eight, she said she was self-harming to cope with her emotions.  She said she often only found solace in her animals.  At 17, she met the man she would marry — a relationship that all too similarly mirrored abuse from her upbringing.

“I didn’t really quite know that in my marriage, things that I was experiencing was actually abuse,” Catalano recalled.  “I just knew that it was my fault and that it made me feel really horrible and no matter what I did, no matter what therapy I sought to improve myself, things would improve for a little bit, but I was continuously broken down and broken down and broken down.”

Two sons came from the marriage — a bright spot for Kimberley. But there were too many tumultuous times, triggering years of unprocessed trauma from the past.  It came to a life or death breaking point, Kimberley said, and in 2017, she fled her home and marriage in New Jersey.  She found help in hospitalization and ultimately made her way to Arizona for further treatment.

“I am so blessed,” Catalano said.  “I am so lucky.  Seems like every step led me to getting better and better and better support.”

And support continues for her, including at the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence.  But finding the support, Catalano recognized, may not seem as easy in this time of stay at home orders and social distancing.  She shares her story to educate others that hope is out there.

“I have a responsibility,” Catalano said.  “I know I have lost friends that I have met along my journey.  I don’t want anybody to ever feel alone in any of these feelings ever again.”

The State of Arizona has determined that domestic violence services are essential services and are fully functioning during this time.  The City of Phoenix has a section of their website dedicated to resources such as hotlines, shelters, legal assistance, and other types of support.  Visit or call (800) 799-7233.