'Abusing her for years': Domestic violence safehouse sees 'influx' of new cases

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Domestic violence among military personnel is again a topic of discussion after a U.S. Army Soldier was shot and killed by her estranged ex-husband.

This week, a federal jury convicted Victor Silvers of first degree murder, attempted murder, domestic violence resulting in death, violation of a protective order resulting in death, possession of a firearm, and two counts of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

The guilty verdict comes four years after Silvers shot and killed Brittney Silvers, his estranged wife.

“I don’t want no other woman to end up like my daughter, so please, please speak up, please talk,” said Rod Hughes, Brittney’s father. “He was abusing her for years and we didn’t know.”

Court records show Brittney was killed while stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky when Silvers drove to her home, where investigators say he shot her three times.

“I just want him to know what he did; he hurt our family,” Hughes said.

Five days before the murder, Brittney was granted a Domestic Violence Order of Protection. Silvers was not to come within 300 feet of her or commit violent acts against her. Due to the protection order, Silvers was also prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Domestic Violence is often a battle scar many cannot see.

“There has been an influx I would say this year overall,” said Maricuza Hinnah, Program Director of the Clarksville Urban Ministries, Domestic Violence Safehouse.

Hinnah works with those wanting to leave domestic violence situations. She told News 2 it’s not uncommon to see military personnel in need of help. The Safehouse is located just miles away from the Fort Campbell Base.

“Our survivors are brought here away from their families, away from their friends, and a lot of the souces aren’t employed so they kind of give into that isolation that is kind of brought upon with military culture,” explained Hinnah.

Not only does Hinnah work at the Safehouse, but she is also a survivor herself. The latest data shows more than 42,000 incidents of domestic abuse were reported among active service military between 2015-19. Since then, there has not been much data to show current numbers, but Hinnah explained even one incident is one too many.

“I would say some of it is because of that rigorous military training that they go through. There’s a different level of rank dynamics and structure, sometimes it’s normalized,” said Hinnah. “Violence and aggression, just because of the communication style within the military.”

Silvers remains in custody pending sentencing, and faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system. He is scheduled for sentencing in February 2023 in Kentucky.

Brittany’s father told News 2, the guilty verdict is one step towards justice, however, if it was up to him, he would ask for the death penalty.