ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Joan Banks has come a long way, she's gone down a road that no one should ever travel.
After becoming a teen mom at age 15, she also became a victim of domestic abuse. Now, over a decade later she's ready to speak out and give a voice to those who have lost their own.
"I gave him my rights, I gave him everything," Bank said.
The right to harm her physically, mentally, and emotionally.
"To be pound on and to be taken our dignity away from us," Banks continued. "It's not worth it and do you really love anybody that hard?"
Banks felt it was no longer love steering but her then husband's hunger for power and control.
Leaving her violent relationship wasn't easy but she was determined to take her life back.
"And I knew I had to be strong for my four children, make sure I didn't fail," Banks said.
After 8 years she made it through with the support from her family. Banks believes when she opened up her heart to God, her eyes opened, and bravery came in full force.
"It was like I was free, I felt a weight," Banks continued. "It look like I had been bound for so many years...and I felt a weight off my shoulders." After divorcing her husband, she met someone new, Robert Banks.
"He had a way of putting his arms around me, I don't care what kind of worries I had, Robert just made me feel so safe," Banks said.
23 years later the two are happily married. Banks is living without fear, proof there is light at the end of a dark tunnel.
Banks had a strong support system but not every victim does. If you are a victim of abuse there are options, Liberty House in Albany is known to be a powerful source for anyone who needs assistance.