Columbus marches against domestic violence

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - They're bringing attention to a subject that may lead to serious consequences when ignored.

"We've had eight homicides in Columbus this past year alone that have been related to family violence."

About 100 people marched from Country's Barbecue on Broadway to Woodruff Park on Bay Avenue in support of women who are silently suffering.

"They need to know that they have someone to talk to, somewhere to go, and some way to help them learn that they don't have to live like this. They can get out of it and they can start a whole new life and start over," said Beth Jones of Leather and Lace.

Hope Harbour provides crisis intervention, counseling and secure shelter to victims who are fleeing domestic violence. It's a service available to any woman who is in a violent relationship and has no other way to escape. Executive director of Hope Harbour, Lindsey Reis explains:

"She would call our crisis line, and our number is 706-324-3850, and she would speak to one of our advocates, we'd talk her through it, and if she needed to come into the shelter, we would provide shelter for her and her children. Then we would help her meet her goals to become self-sufficient," says Reis.

At the end of the march, the group heard powerful testimony written by a woman who lived through episodes of domestic violence and was finally able to get away. Then a list of names was read to honor those who never escaped.

"Seventy-two people in the state of Georgia lost their lives over the past year. This is an outlet for the family members," says Marcus Broadwater, Domestic Violence Roundtable.

Organizers of the event hope that potential victims will take advantage of the community resources available to leave a bad situation before it becomes a tragedy.

There was originally supposed to be a candlelight vigil outside, but it was canceled due to weather. Even though the heavy rain had passed by this evening and there was a beautiful sunset, the grass at Woodruff Park was too soaked to stand on, so they had to move it inside.

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