Advocates raise awareness for domestic abuse in Muscogee County

Advocates raise awareness for domestic abuse in Muscogee County

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - According to Columbus police, within the last month there have been at least three homicides across the Chattahoochee Valley stemming from domestic disputes.

Lindsey Reis, Executive Director for Hope Harbour, says Muscogee County is ranked second outside of metro Atlanta for the number of domestic-related homicides in the state of Georgia.

“We’ve had residents here tell us, ‘I know what kind of night it was going to be by the way he slammed the door,’” said Reis.

Hope Harbour is a resource center and shelter for victims of domestic violence.

“In situations we’ve seen recently, and nobody knows exactly what was happening behind those closed doors when those homicides happened, but most of the time when victims are killed is when they are leaving the relationship or in the process of leaving the relationship,” said Reis.

Police say the most dangerous calls for them to go on are domestic disputes.

When situations are already heated, drugs, alcohol or mental illness can make the situation take a turn for the worse.

“We don’t know all of this until we get there and when we get there, that’s when we learn it sometimes. It’s so heightened that the situation is so volatile that it changes in a split second so we have to be ready for that change and during that change sometimes it can become a deadly situation,” said Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick with Columbus Police Department.

According to Hope Harbour, one in four women will be abused in their lifetime.

Reis says it is all about power and control over the victim’s mind for the abuser.

“They are told over and over again that they are worthless, that nobody else would ever want them, that they won’t make it without the abuser, how are you going to take care of the kids without me,” said Reis.

Reis says victims are ashamed to have conversations about overcoming their abuse, but she adds it is something to truly celebrate.

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-7233 or visit Hope Harbour’s website by clicking here.

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