BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – Domestic partner violence is not uncommon in the Hispanic community.

“The first thing that the aggressor does is make you think that you can’t live on your own,” said Patricia Lopez. “So when they believe they can’t live on their own they start to accept the abuse insults and mistreatment.”

Lopez is a victim of domestic violence, but now she’s standing up for anybody who has had to go through what she endured.

“You’re not alone, there’s help,” she said.

Three years ago she opened Tulips Thrift store in Blufton in hopes of saving enough money to open her own women’s shelter.

“It’s not just going to be a house,” Lopez said. “The principle idea is to provide long-term healing for women.”

It’s not always easy to leave a relationship and seek shelter on your own. That’s why those who are just witnesses to a violent relationship have a responsibility.

“If you have a friend or coworker and you realize that they are being abused, please call the authorities,” said Pastor Ileana Alvey of Iglesia Renuevo de Naciones.

Community figures like Alvey say people should do their part to step up and intervene if necessary.

Both Alvey and Lopez acknowledged there is an issue with domestic violence in Hispanic communities.

“They don’t know that reporting domestic violence won’t affect them,” said Alvey.

“That’s why they put up with this and don’t seek help,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s dream of owning a women’s shelter is now a reality. After a hefty donation, she was able to secure a property out in Jasper County.