Tampa Bay woman who survived 32 stab wounds offers dating violence warning

Tampa Bay woman who survived 32 stab wounds offers dating violence warning

She was stabbed more than 30 times by her ex-boyfriend in 2012 and was left for dead in the front of her Clearwater home.

On Wednesday, at Pasco Hernando State College in Wesley Chapel, Melissa Dohme Hill talked about the danger of dating violence– the type of violence that nearly killed her.

Hill spoke about her miraculous recovery and how she’s now dedicating her life to preventing anything similar from happening to anyone else.

To look at her now, you’d never know the sheer hell Hill has been through.

In 2012 her abusive ex-boyfriend, Robert Burton, who is spending life in prison, stabbed her 19 times in the head and neck and 13 times in her hands and arms.

Against her better judgment, she said she had stepped outside her Clearwater home to give Burton one last hug before going their separate ways.

“He reached around me for a hug. So, he opened his arms to squeeze me tight. And as soon as he squeezed me, he actually had a switchblade in his hands,” said Hill. “He flipped up the knife. The first was in the back of my left shoulder, the second one was the back of my neck. And, the third one was the other side of my face. He switched the knife around just on my face here. And that’s when I knew, ‘Oh my God, he’s here to kill me. I’m going to die. This is the fight for my life.’”

After a long recovery, Hill’s nightmare has had a far happier ending.

After graduating from college, she married Cameron Hill, who was one of the first responders who’d saved her life.

“It’s our real true love story,” said Hill. “He is the firefighter that set up the landing zone for the helicopter that I was put into an airlifted to bayfront in St. Pete where they save my life.”

These days when she’s not speaking about dating violence, Hill and her husband are raising Alpacas. They hope to start a farm in Pasco County dedicated to helping abuse victims and first responders battling psychological trauma.

Hill has also dedicated her life to educating teenagers about the danger of dating violence, which is something she said no one ever talked about when she was in school.

The Florida statewide hotline can be reached at 1-800-500-1119. It connects domestic abuse victims to whichever county resource is available in their area.

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