A man in Florida is accused of the most heinous of crimes -- killing his pregnant girlfriend with a machete. The woman, Horacia Simeus, was reportedly three months pregnant with her 24-year-old boyfriend Youvens Madeus's baby. But the couple had long had a rocky relationship, with Madeus being accused by friends and family of being abusive. "He was just a jerk and abusive," the manager of the KFC where Simeus worked told a local media outlet, WPBF. "The whole family told her to leave him and she didn't do it."

The two reportedly got into an argument while she was on the phone trying to get help from a victim services advocate when Madeus allegedly armed himself with the machete and brutally turned on her. According to police, he struck her once and killed her.

While this story is particularly gruesome, unfortunately domestic violence that ends in murder is all too common. According to one study, at least 1,500 women are killed every year by their husbands or boyfriends. Statistically, women are in even more danger when they become pregnant. Sadly, however, women often believe that a pregnancy will keep them safer. (Men are victims of domestic violence as well, with 1 in 4 men having experienced rape, abuse, or stalking by an intimate partner. But women are still the vast majority of domestic violence victims.)

The abuse cycle is a complex one, and I certainly can't explain all the dynamics that go into it here. But women often don't leave for a variety of reasons. They are afraid. They are not financially capable of it. They love their abuser when he's not abusing. They grew up in abusive households and this is what they think love is. The list goes on and on.

However, experts are in agreement that leaving an abuser is one of the most dangerous times. Women must plan it very carefully. Calling for help in front of your abuser is not a wise idea. This is NOT to blame the victim; I'm sure she just needed help and didn't know what to do. But if you are in an abusive situation, please be aware that you need to plan an escape very carefully.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help, please visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233.

Have you or someone you love ever been in a violent situation with an intimate partner?


Image via Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office