Domestic violence survivor honored for helping other abuse victims: ‘Its my purpose’

RICHMOND, Va. -- For Davette Hayes, standing on the sidewalk where she was nearly murdered doesn’t stir up the emotions one might think.

Nearly 11 years after a horrific machete attack by an ex-boyfriend, the Henrico woman celebrates.

Hayes vividly remembers the 2007 New Year’s Eve attack outside of Richmond Community Hospital, where she worked at the time.

She parked, walked up to the doors.

“I saw Paul stooped down. He started running towards me. I froze,” said Hayes. "I saw he had a machete."

Davette Hayes

She felt three blows of the weapon, then went unconscious. Hayes believes her life was saved that day because of the quick action of hospital co-workers.

After spending 38 days in the hospital, her road to recovery was a long one, both physically and mentally.

“My right hand was almost completely amputated. I had rods and pins were in my fingertips. They had to be sewn on. I had a lot of physical therapy, a lot of appointments with psychologists,” Hayes explained.

Leaning on her faith, each day Hayes grows stronger.

“My faith in God. It’s only through him that I survived this,” she added.

She uses that to fuel her mission to raise awareness about domestic violence.

She has been invited by area police departments, churches and organizations to tell her story of survival. She was also recently honored at Fort Lee.

Davette Hayes

The Lieutenant Commander of the Kenner Army Health Clinic – Fort Lee presented Hayes with the Lieutenant Commander’s coin.

"I was overwhelmed, grateful. I cried. It was amazing, and it was honoring,” Hayes expressed.

Hayes vows to share her message and make a difference for other domestic violence victims as often as she can.

“Part of my purpose for surviving this horrific attack was to share my story and try to save somebody else,” said Hayes.

Hayes says the most important part of her message is to let other domestic violence victims know that there is help available.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Virginia family violence and sexual assault hotline. at 1-800-838-8238.