Patti Davis lets the world know she is a survivor. After all, it’s on her license plate.

But she sometimes has to explain her situation. She tells those who ask – and those who gathered at Midland University on Thursday – that she is a survivor of domestic violence.

A mother of two children who also suffered abuse from their father and her husband, Davis shared her survivor’s story at the annual Candlelight Vigil sponsored by the Crisis Center for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault.

The Crisis Center, Davis said, “was a big rock at the time when I didn’t feel like I had anyone else to help me.”

Her story spans more than 15 years with the man, who currently is in prison for abusing his children.

“He was a man who was always out of control. His life was never on the straight and narrow,” Davis said. “It was kind of like a tornado; spun all the time. You never knew what was next.

“He was physically abusive part of the time. But he was 95 percent of the time mentally and emotionally abusive.”

Davis finally sought help on Easter 2003, the morning after her husband had assaulted her and her then 4-year-old son and placed her 5-month-old daughter inside a hide-a-bed couch.

“I had to go through the humiliating reports. I had to go through the humiliating picture taking,” she said.

But at her side was someone from the Crisis Center. That person stayed with her through the time it took to process reports at the sheriff’s office and then checked on her throughout the day.

Help such as that continued through the years, from the process of getting a restraining order to assistance when Davis filed for divorce.

“I really felt I was not alone. Any of the women at the Crisis Center would have answered any of my questions.”

Crisis Center staff even got Davis, who describes herself as independent, to attend a women’s support group.

“I didn’t want to sit with a group of women and rehash what I just went through,” she said. “I wanted to move on. I didn’t want to sit there and cry over it. After a couple of meetings, I realized these girls could help me out. I could help them, but they could help me more.”

Davis also started taking martial arts classes along the way. It was in those classes that she “finally found out who I am.”

Now she teaches classes at a Fremont martial arts academy and leads a women’s self-protection class.

She wants more women to realize domestic violence does happen in Fremont. And she wants them to she is a survivor.