Cape Coral mayor says she is domestic battery victim

CAPE CORAL, Fla. Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki says she is done with ex-husband Kenneth Retzer following his Saturday arrest in Miami Beach.

Retzer is facing a battery charge after an altercation at the Fontainebleu Hotel, where he and Sawicki were staying to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Sawicki identified herself to WINK News as the victim.

Sawicki intends to file a permanent restraining order against Retzer, she said. The couple married in July and divorced two months later.

“I am not going to be shamed over this,” Sawicki said. “At the end of the day, it’s never OK to put your hands on someone.”

Sawicki filed a restraining order against Retzer in May 2016 — two months before their marriage — claiming he sent her hundreds of text messages a day and left her threatening voicemails saying he would “destroy her.”

It’s unclear what brought the two together this past weekend, when Sawicki said Retzer accompanied her as a guest — at no cost to taxpayers — at the conference.

But it’s common for victims of domestic abuse to return to their abuser, according to Jennifer Benton, a domestic abuse counselor for Abuse Counseling and Treatment Inc., a Fort Myers-based nonprofit.

“It’s very common,” Benton said. “The national statistic says they go back six or seven times before they finally break free. Nobody goes into a relationship thinking that they’re going to be abused.”

Retzer and Sawicki started arguing around 1 a.m. Saturday after drinking at the hotel nightclub, she said. Sawicki told WINK News she was not intoxicated, however.

Police said they found blood on the bedsheets and holes in the walls of their hotel room after the conflict turned physical.

Retzer’s face showed noticeable red marks in his mugshot.

“I fought back,” Sawicki said. “What would you do?”

Sawicki is not facing any charges stemming from the altercation. She stayed at the conference and continued to attend meetings after Retzer’s arrest, she said.

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