BEND, Ore. - A most tragic start to Domestic Violence Awareness Month: a Gresham woman, police say, was killed by her own husband in front of her own children.
Documented cases of beatings and a restraining order couldn't save Jessie Cavett from a monster.
And one woman here in Central Oregon says court papers won't save her from abuse, either.
"A restraining order would escalate it even further," said the woman, who asked not to use her name. "It would be unpredictable, so I feel I would put myself in a more dangerous situation."
Those are feelings that Saving Grace Advocate Dara Pearson says aren't uncommon.
"Once he knows he doesn't have that control any more, that's when we see a lot of the violence actually escalate," Pearson said.
She said many abused women she works with say it's hard for their restraining orders to stay enforced.
"Sometimes they need proof a restraining order has been violated, and oftentimes abusers are smarter than that," Pearson said. "It's tricky for law enforcement to actually prosecute those cases."
Still, the shelter doesn't discourage victims from seeking court protection--but says having a fallback plan is critical.
"We're always talking about, in different circumstances, how can we optimize your safety?" Pearson said.
And safety starts with knowing the facts.
"It is not what people read in a book or see on TV, or a violent bruise on the eye situations," the woman said. "It's a middle-class mom and dad who've been married for a while and have children, and they've been experiencing these things."
Victims say little things start to add up, and abusers will become more and more violent.
"Little situations, little things that are said, or little things that happen to you at home in private that might mean something: 'Hey, maybe this isn't healthy or safe.''"
Still, after years of abuse, the battered woman is embracing a better life, cautiously.
"I think over time I'll be proud of myself," she said. "You just take it day by day to keep your children safe. I know as they grow older, they're going to realize and be proud of their mom."
Saving Grace officials say their caseloads increased by about 30 percent this year.
Last year, they provided nearly 15,000 services.
For more information about Saving Grace and how you can get help from an abusive situation just visit www.saving-grace.org