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Life in Balance: Advocates tell domestic abuse victims, 'Don't wait to get help'

"We're not going to deal with the issue until we really realize how widespread it is."

BOISE -- The tragic death of a 22-year-old Nampa woman is reminding our community about the tragic effects of domestic violence.

Kymberlee Larsen had just given birth to a baby boy two months ago. Last week, she was brutally stabbed to death by the baby's father. Her family says she died shielding her son from the knife.

"She kind of had the Peter Pan syndrome, wanted to never grow up and just have fun, up until she had her baby and realized she needed to be there but still had that loving heart and never asked for anything, for herself, always put everybody else first," said Ben Carrillo, Kymberlee Larsen's brother.

Carrillo says his sister was a free spirit, a beautiful, loving soul. He says no one expected the violence of Tuesday morning.

"They were living together in Meridian and we intervened the weekend before, a couple days before and pulled her out of that situation," Carrillo said. "There was a little bit of dispute, but nobody saw that it would come to this level."

Nampa Police say Evan Bashir broke into Kymberlee's sister's house and brutally stabbed Kymberlee to death. He also attacked Kym's sister and her mom, who nearly died. Three children were there, but they weren't physically harmed. Bashir was shot and killed by police.

"He knew that they were going to be there alone with just the women and children," Carillo said. "We strongly believe that this was premeditated."

Kymberlee Larsen 

One in four women will be abused in their lifetime; and one in six men. In Ada County, first responders respond to a battery call at least once every single day -- according to the Women's and Children's Alliance in Boise.

"We're not going to deal with the issue until we really realize how widespread it is," said Bea Black, Executive Director, Women's and Children's Alliance.

The Women's and Children's Alliance provides victims safety, healing and freedom. Black says the severity of some of the physical violence has gotten worse. The most volatile time for victims is when they leave the situation.

"When the perpetrator loses control over the person they've been controlling because you never know how they're going to act," Black said.

RELATED: Nampa stabbing death puts spotlight on domestic violence

Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue is also on the front lines of domestic violence. He sees the trauma all too often and believes it's an epidemic.

"Once that physical part starts, there's really no end to it. It only escalates. It does not go back the other direction," Donahue said.

Sheriff Donahue began the Man Up Crusade six years ago for education and awareness. Both the Man Up Crusade and the Women's and Children's Alliance have been working closely with our young people.

"If you grow up in those environments, you're twice as likely to be an abuser or an offender or both so it's normalized to them, this is the culture they grew up in," Donahue said. "You have to change the next generation and it's through education, awareness and talking about it."

Donahue and Black caution that not all domestic abuse is physical. It can be psychological, even exerting excessive financial control over a victim should be considered abusive.

"Trying to control where somebody goes, who they interact with, the friends that they are able to see, the fact that maybe they aren't allowed to leave the house without the partner," Black explained. "Again, it all comes down to control."

Kymberlee's family says they are grateful for the community's thoughts and prayers. They say Kymberlee wouldn't want people to be upset or crying over her - she would want them to celebrate her.

Maybe her story will help others who are hurting.

"If you see signs of anything that is concerning at all its better to play it safe," Carrillo said.

MORE: Brother of slain mother asking for support for victim's baby

Black says the most important thing you can do if you find yourself questioning a relationship or worried about a loved one is to reach out and ask for help. The Women's and Children's Alliance has a 24 hour crisis hotline. Call 208-343-7025.

Black says the Women's and Children's Alliance has 40 to 50 partner agencies throughout the state so they can get you the help you need, no matter where you live. They also operate two domestic abuse shelters and provide a number of services including counseling and support services.

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