As people escaped the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey, one woman was also escaping the final tether of a violent relationship.
"So I just decided I needed to come here," Karen Hurdle said.
She came to the Dallas Mega Shelter, which was guarded with police officers and even the National Guard.
"I think that for the first time in my life I just felt like I had, I just felt safe. I really did," Hurdle said.
She said the first time she felt unsafe with her ex was during a ride home when he hit her.
"I didn't know what to think. And then he was like, 'Are you coming in?' And I was thinking to myself, 'Well, where else am I gonna go?'" Hurdle said.
Hurdle shared a picture that was taken several years later that showed blood streaming down her face.
"That's when he started punching me and all that kind of stuff. And he denies that. He says that I attacked him. And I did not attack him," Hurdle said.
She called the police, went to the hospital, but no charges were ever filed against her accused abuser.
"Even after the first time that he was violent, why did you stay with him?" asked NBC 5's Kristin Dickerson.
"I thought two things: I was still in love with him, and at the time I thought I needed him. I felt like he was my family," Hurdle said.
She wants to advocate against domestic abusers—who can be men or women.
"We gotta stop loving them. Because they don't feel the love for us when they are hitting us and doing what they do to us. That's not love," Hurdle said.
And now that the storms of her past have calmed, the choice to cut all remaining ties to that relationship is even clearer.