A year ago, Nadege Toussaint was scared to tell her parents and her friends that she was being abused by her boyfriend.
"I stayed because this was all I knew," Toussaint told Local 10's Neki Mohan. "We were driving one day, and he stopped the car, threw me in the back seat and started punching and choking me. I thought this was how it was going to be."
The abuse continued for several years, even after the birth of their two children, Toussaint said. She said her daughter started talking about it to her, and that was her wakeup call.
"I thought, 'Do I want my daughter to go through what I am going through?'" said Toussaint.
A police intervention forced the 26-year-old to get help from Broward County's Women in Distress. Through counseling for herself and her daughters, she has a new outlook on life.
"I am a champion. I am a survivor," she said.
In Broward County alone, more than 4,000 people sought services from Women in Distress last year, and advocates said more men are coming to their shelter and counseling centers.
Toussaint said through counseling, she has come to realize she is not alone, and she wants to be a voice for the voiceless.
"I need to tell my story to women and girls so they know they don't have to stay with a man that physically or mentally abuses them," said Toussaint.
To reach Women in Distress, call the 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 954-761-1133 or visit womenindistress.org.