NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Sparkle Johnson was nine months pregnant the first time she says her ex physically abused her.

“Punching and pulling my hair,” Johnson said.

On Christmas Day 2015, Johnson said it escalated.

“He was in my house unbeknownst to me and he attacked for three days,” Johnson said. "Pistol whipped me, cut me, raped me, you name it."

A year before the attack Johnson got an order of protection.

Mayra Garcia also filed an order of protection shortly before she and her son were stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend.

Temptress Peebles had also filed an order of protection not long before she was shot by her ex-boyfriend, last week.

“Obviously an order of protection can’t physically prevent another person from harassing you or assaulting you or doing anything else,” attorney Ben Raybin said. “I think that an order of protection is one piece of a larger puzzle of things that people can use to protect themselves.”

Raybin said it’s supposed to be a deterrent that makes communication of any kind a crime.

“If an order of protection is in place even the slightest communication, a Facebook like, a comment online, even driving by somebody’s house, that actually becomes a crime of violating the order of protection,” Raybin said.

Johnson credits her children for helping her get out and quickly, leaving everything behind.

“It is physical flames behind someone’s fist, behind somebody’s gun, behind somebody’s knife. It’s a fire. Treat it as a fire,” Johnson said.

Johnson went to a domestic violence shelter and was given resources to help her start over.

“They had counselors and they had therapists there, that helped me get my own place,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of domestic violence non-profits out there.”

She said help is out there.

She now has her own non-profit, SuperWomen Inc. She offers support to other survivors.

She said support is key when it comes to surviving violent relationships.

“Be supportive, because you'll support their funeral, so why let it get that bad,” Johnson said. “Support them while they're living, save their life."

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the YWCA’s 24-hour crisis and support line here: 1-800-334-4628.

If you are in an abusive relationship the National Domestic Violence Hotline has some advice posted on its website about how to make a safety plan.

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Reporter

Brittany Weiner joined the News4 team as a reporter in July 2018.

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