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Experts on Abuse Victim’s Picture: Consider Safety First

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman who was the victim of an attack posted a picture on Facebook of herself lying in a hospital bed, and her boyfriend is accused of beating her with a baseball bat.

Many people online are applauding her bravery and courage but some advocates want to warn abuse victims that going public isn't always the best idea - it's more important to put your safety first.

According to court records, witnesses told police that Austin McCauley choked Amber Taylor, put a knife to her throat, and beat her on the head with a baseball bat. Taylor told FOX 4 that she put the picture of herself lying in a hospital bed as a warning to others.

"He could have hit me harder and he could have killed me," she said.

Related: Battered Woman Posts Picture on Facebook

Sharon Katz with the Safehome domestic violence shelter says she has no doubt in her mind that Taylor's boyfriend intended to kill her. She sees it at the shelter all the time.

Katz's first reaction to the picture was to applaud Taylor's bravery but she's also very worried about Taylor's safety.

"I do fear for some retaliation to what she's done, not that it's deserved, she had every right to do what she did and she's brave and it may have been empowering for her to do that," Katz said. "Obviously women should be strong and brave, but the best way to be strong and brave is to be safe as well."

Katz says they're very careful at Safehome about social media. They instruct women about being careful how much they say on social media, especially if they're hiding from potential danger.

But Katz says being as visible as Taylor's picture has become could also help save a life. It could help an abuse victim realize she's just as vulnerable as an NFL players girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, or just as vulnerable as Taylor.

"Hopefully there are battered women out there who will say 'next time maybe he'll use a baseball bat and kill me,'" said Katz.

If you or someone you know needs help there is a metro-wide abuse hotline that can help with anything from emergency shelter to protection orders and support groups: 1-816-HOTLINE

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