SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A domestic violence survivor is speaking out after her abuser was sentenced to eight years in prison.

“When I went to court, I had a very long victim impact statement and I remember my hands were shaking and my knees were shaking,” Ashley said. To protect her, we won’t be releasing her full name. “His mom was sitting behind me and it was nerve-racking.”

For Ashley, her nightmare started on June 6, 2021. That was the day she and her partner Seth Beisner got into a fight about their son.

“He was drinking really heavily,” Ashley said. “There’s beer cans everywhere. There’s liquor everywhere. I was going to take a breather because I thought I was just going to lose it on him. I stepped out on the balcony and sat down in a chair. I remember sliding the glass door opening. But before I knew anything, it was just cracks on the back of my skull. It felt like really hard rocks slamming into the back of my head.”

A probable cause statement said Ashley told police Beisner struck her with closed fists, knocked her to the ground, and proceeded to kick and stomp her head and torso.

“I didn’t even ask him to stop because I knew he wouldn’t,” Ashley said. “I just screamed the apartment number over and over thinking that at least if someone heard me or if I was killed, they would know which apartment it was happening in.”

A neighbor ended up calling 911. When officers arrived, a probable cause statement said they found blood flowing from Ashley’s nose and mouth. Officers also bruises and lumps on her.

Ashley called several shelters to find a safe place for her and her son after the assault. But she couldn’t find a place for both her and her son. Ashley did eventually find Project Heal.

“Project Heal is a collaborative grant with Missouri State University through the Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women that is aimed at reducing dating intimate violence, stalking, and sexual assault on campus,” Victim Services Coordinator Rachel Herron said. Project Heal also helps women off campus. This includes helping survivors during court cases.

“Making sure that survivors are not alone is so important,” Herron said. “That’s my primary role when I do go to court settings and support survivors.”

For Ashley, having Herron by her side helped her get through Beisner’s trial.

“Rachel pretty much just held my hand and did everything possible to make me comfortable,” Ashley said. “I don’t know how I would’ve made it through the trial without her.”

Beisner was sentenced to eight years behind bars on September 15. Ashley said it brings her some sort of peace knowing he will be in prison.

“I never thought that we would be safe in a place that’s our own and comfortable and we are,” Ashley said. “So there is hope out there. You just have to really fight for it.”

Ozarks Technical Community College also partners with Project Heal to keep students safe.