MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man is facing attempted murder charges after police say he pushed his girlfriend’s head underwater and tried to strangle her while her eight-year-old son was present.

Officers responded to a domestic violence call Sunday morning around 3 a.m. When they arrived, they talked to Darrell Neal, the victim’s boyfriend. Police told Neal they needed to speak with the victim before leaving the residence.

According to court documents, Neal brought the victim to the front door but would not let her speak to officers or go outside. While standing at the door, police said the victim mouthed “help me” and showed her neck, which had scratch marks.

Martha Jackson, Director of Coordinated Community Response and Special Programs for the Family Safety Center, praises the young mother’s actions she said may have saved her life.

“I think she did a really good job of keeping herself safe,” said Jackson.

The victim later told officers that she and Neal argued over her son not eating. She said Neal began to push her against the wall. She said he also head-butted her, picked her up by the neck with one hand, tried to strangle her, and submerged her head in a bathtub for about ten seconds.

The victim told WREG she was doing okay and said her son helped her get rescued when he called 911.

“We see, on average, it takes a victim or someone who is experiencing domestic violence seven to eight tries before they actually leave an abuser,” said Jackson.

Jackson wants domestic violence victims to know there is help available for them and said if they are not ready to leave yet, at least have a safety plan.

“Maybe having a change of clothes in your car,” Jackson said. “We think about having your documents all in one place so that you’ll have your driver’s license, your birth certificate, all those things. So, if you have to flee at 3 a.m., you’ll have some things to start your life with .”

Family Safety Center

Neal was also charged with aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping. He is being held on an $80.000 bond.

Court records show he was also arrested at a different address last month and accused of hitting the mother of his 11-month-old child.

The Family Safety Center has a 24-hour crisis line. If you need help, call (901) 800-6064.