Five years after an abusive ex-boyfriend stabbed her 32 times and left her in a park to die, Melissa Dohme Hill has become an outspoken domestic violence activist.
A year after her attack, she attended a luncheon to speak about her experience — but she never expected to meet the love of her life at the event. Firefighter-paramedic Cameron Hill, one of the first responders to arrive at the crime scene, was at the same luncheon and the pair bonded instantly. Although they initially tried to ignore the undeniable sparks between them, the friendship quickly blossomed into a romance and they tied the knot on March 4.
“I would never want to go through the horrific attack again, but with where I am today, I wouldn’t change it,” Melissa told the Huffington Post. “I feel that fate brought Cameron and I together when the timing was right.”
At Cameron’s invitation, Melissa and her mom attended a dinner at the station so she could meet the crew that saved her life on that fateful night. Friendships were formed, and the police officer who was first on the scene became one of Melissa’s best friends — she was even a bridesmaid at the wedding.
Following their reception, which was attended by many of the doctors and first responders who helped Melissa survive the brutal attack, the couple departed in a fire engine.
Melissa found her much-deserved “happily ever after,” and she remains devoted to helping other domestic violence victims find the same peace and happiness.
“[The attack] turned me into the strong woman I am today and also led me to find my purpose,” Melissa said. “I know God saved me that night to be able to speak out for women who are suffering in silence.”
Far too often, domestic violence victims blame themselves for the abuse and are terrified to ask for help. Melissa’s goal is to help battered women and men seek the treatment they need and deserve.
“I promise you there is life and love after abuse, but you must first love yourself completely before you can be loved by someone else,” she told The Huffington Post.
After escaping an abusive partner, many survivors are understandably fearful and reluctant to enter new relationships. Melissa and Cameron’s beautiful story is proof that there’s a happier, healthier life waiting for them on the other side.