The Story of a Survivor

by Ashley Zilka on September 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm

One woman’s story is impacting kids around the United States. It’s the story of Johanna Orozco; a victim caught in an abusive relationship.

Raised in Cleveland, Johanna met Juan Ruiz Junior as a child. In 10th grade, they would go on their first date. After two years of being in an abusive relationship, Johanna officially left Juan. Johanna says after the break-up Juan raped her and two weeks later…shot her in the face. Now years later, she continues to tell her story to teenagers across the country. Today, she spoke to students at Zanesville High School.

"Leave. You have to leave. It’s hard to leave because you love this person but you have to leave. Then, you have to tell a trusted adult. Yes, it’s good to talk to friends, which is fine, but I believe you need to talk to an adult either a teacher, a parent, a guardian, a counselor let them know what is going on," said Orozco.

Johanna says talking about teen dating violence is crucial. It’s important for teenagers to know where to go and know they are not alone. Johanna says there are common signs that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence.

"From being a very cheerful, loud, out going person to a very quiet, isolated person. Someone that is always in their room or stays quiet a lot. They are always on the phone constantly or that you notice she/he is getting a lot of phone calls or text messages from this boyfriend/girlfriend that’s a warning sign," said Orozco. 

Sophomore Kalah Tyo is just one of many students who has learned from Johanna.

"If you are in an abusive relationship you need to find the quickest way out of it no matter how hard it hurts. No matter how much you love somebody. Obviously, you are not being loved if you are being hit," said Tyo. 

Ruiz was sentenced to 27 years in prison.