Niles man charged with domestic violence, victim shares story
A Niles man is facing several charges for allegedly beating his girlfriend.
Berrien County prosecutors charged 29-year-old William Skalla with assault with intent to do great bodily harm and domestic violence for the incident on Sunday.
While Skalla is behind bars awaiting his next court appearance on Wednesday, his victim is sharing her story in hopes of helping others in abusive relationships.
Nineteen-year-old Dallas Hunsberger suffered dozens of bruises all over her body, scratches on her face, and a sprained ankle during the alleged hour long beating by Skalla.
Hunsberger says they had been dating for the last year. A few months into the relationship, she moved in to his Niles home.
“When we first started dating it was all good, but then it was all downhill from there,” says Hunsberger.
Hunsberger says Skalla became more controlling with time, and shortly after Christmas he started hitting her.
“I thought I loved him. I thought he loved me, but, that’s not love. I wanted to leave a few times. I don’t know, I just couldn’t for some reason,” says Hunsberger.
Hunsberger put up with the abuse for months. Her mom, Amy, says she wishes her daughter hadn’t worried about finding enough support outside of the relationship.
“She was trying not to let me know, she was trying to cover it up because she knows I’m overprotective because she’s my only daughter,” says Amy.
But on Sunday, Dallas says she feared for her life and covering it up wasn’t an option anymore.
When Skalla allegedly stopped beating her to clean up her blood, Hunsberger says she ran across the street to get help from a neighbor.
“I thought next time I might not even get lucky enough to escape and I was just tired of it and I didn’t want to do it again or anymore, ever,” says Hunsberger.
Skalla was arrested and booked into the Berrien County Jail the following day. He will be back in court for a preliminary exam on the 31st.
“The person I loved is way different than who he is. There’s more people that care and want to get you out of that situation, it’s not right. It’s not love. You just need to get out,” says Hunsberger.
For those in abusive relationships, the YWCA suggests creating a safety signal to share with neighbors. For example, let them know they need to call police if they see an outside light on or the curtains drawn in a certain window.
They also suggest packing a go bag in case you need to leave quick, with things like emergency medications, a change of clothes and an extra set of car keys.
The YWCA has a 24-hour crisis line for those in need of counseling and emergency shelter, 1-866-YES-YWCA. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.