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Survivor of acid attack to share her story at annual domestic violence forum

After suffering sulfuric acid burns over one-fifth of her body in April 2013, Christy Sims was in an induced coma for two months. More than two years later, she saw her attacker, an ex-boyfriend, sentenced in court.

Sims, of Atlanta, will be the featured speaker at the Oct. 10 Domestic Violence Breakfast and Briefing at the Thurmond McRae Auditorium in the Brenau University’s Trustee Library in Gainesville.

“Some of the people in our committee had heard her speak before and said it was a very compelling story,” said Gateway Domestic Violence Center Executive Director Jessica Butler.

The event is hosted by the Hall County Domestic Violence Task Force, which Butler said seeks to make people “understand how serious domestic violence is.”

“I think a lot of people when they come to this event use it as an opportunity to learn more about the issue of domestic violence. We see people who work in the court system and law enforcement who routinely work with domestic violence cases, and we also see some concerned members of the community who just want to learn more and be more aware about what’s happening,” Butler said.

Sims became an advocate for Marsy’s Law, an amendment on the ballot for Georgia voters in November regarding a crime victim’s rights during court proceedings.

Domestic Violence Breakfast and Briefing

When: 8-9 a.m. Oct. 10

Where: Thurmond McRae Auditorium, Brenau University’s Trustee Library, 625 Academy St. NE, Gainesville

How much: Free, but seating limited

In an ad supporting the amendment, Sims said her then-boyfriend “doused (her) with industrial-grade drain cleaner.”

“I think that Marsy’s Law would have allowed me to feel more empowered in my own legal process. It would have been nice to get notification. It would have been nice for somebody to represent me at hearings,” Sims said in the ad. “It would have been nice to not have to be terrified every day for two years.”

Butler said the event usually draws a crowd of 150 people or more to the briefing, which also honors one person as the “Domestic Violence Officer of the Year.”

The award goes to a law enforcement officer determined to have a “strong commitment to working domestic violence cases,” Butler said.

The recipient last year was Senior Sgt. James Brown, and the 2016 honors went to the Hall County court services division. The six deputies of the court services division are tasked with serving civil papers and temporary protective orders.