On Sept. 14, 25-year-old Michele Armstrong was stabbed more than 50 times by her fiance in Apple Valley, Minnesota, before he turned the knife on himself and committed suicide.
Armstrong survived the attack committed by Alexander “Xander” Mooney, 26, but she has a message for other women in abusive relationships: leave.
“If you have to question your safety, leave," she told Fox 9. "It's not worth it. You don't want to be the girl that's laying in her own blood."
Armstrong had a son with Mooney and they planned on getting married, but they both used methamphetamine.
"Red flags were like he got really mean, he called names, and he scared me," she said. "Never really put hands on me or put anything like that but he was very threatening."
After a long drive on Sept. 14, the couple began fighting.
“We were driving probably 6 hours when I said, ‘I'm done,' and I got really angry and upset. I said, 'I'm done, bring me home now,'" Armstrong said.
“I wasn't going to live if I stayed in the car he was going to kill me," Armstrong said. "We were going about 50 mph when I rolled out of the vehicle and he tried to pull me back in but I got out. He turned the car around. All I could hear was the tires. And he hit me with my vehicle.”
Mooney ran to a nearby yard, where he repeatedly stabbed Armstrong. Passerby Josh Mathre noticed the couple’s car sitting by the roadside and called for help.
“I see a lot of deer driving to work that time of day,” Mathre told The Star Tribune following the incident, “so I’m always extra alert.”
Mathre’s call made a life-and-death difference.
“She would've died, absolutely. This 911 caller saver her life,” said Captain Nick Francis of the Apple Valley Police Department.
“I was two minutes from death when police arrived on scene," she said. "I should be dead today and it was all for love."
Mooney committed suicide before police arrived.
Armstrong has since gotten clean and hopes that she can advocate for other women.
“I'm the girl that looks in the mirror every day and sees these scars that almost killed me because we decided to do drugs,” she said.
Leaving an abusive relationship is often difficult and dangerous for victims. According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, victims often leave seven times before making it permanent. Abuse victims often don’t leave the relationship because batterers are in the position of power. Victims also often feel like they lack support after they leave the relationship.
The Center For Relationship Abuse Awareness advocates that victims attempting to leave an abusive relationship develop a safety plan that includes developing legal and social resources.
Photo Credit: Fox 9, Wikimedia Commons