'Paint the Town Purple Day' to help domestic violence victims

Published: Oct. 17, 2015 at 3:24 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2015 at 3:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women - more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

The Columbus community came together to hear stories of survival Friday in an effort to stop domestic violence and abuse.

"She was killed due to domestic violence and I never thought that would happen," said Gwinette Hilson.

Hilson lost her daughter Ryeika Ingersoll three years ago. Ryeika was shot multiple times by her son's father in front of her four kids. Hilson is now raising her grandsons.

"We have our bad days, real real bad days. It's nothing that we can't overcome with the help of God," said Hilson.

Mayor Tomlinson proclaimed October 16 as Paint the Town Purple Day for the Mary Cason Foundation.

A 6-year survivor of domestic abuse, Dudonna Jones told her story publicly for the first time at the special event.

"He hit me and said that if I didn't tell him the truth then in the next five minutes, be prepared to die. Saying that if he can't have me. no one will and he was ready to take his life as well," said Jones.

Jones says the man she was dating accused her of seeing someone else.

"He was very controlling and I thought it was because he wanted to be with me. He gave me with signs but I didn't take heed to it because I wanted to be in a relationship so bad," said Jones

According to the Crisis Center of Russell County, one in every three women in the U.S. has experienced some form of domestic violence.

"It's okay to say no. You may be scared, it's okay. But once that person leaves, there's always a chance to get out," said Hilson.

"By the grace of God I am here today and I am a survivor," said Jones.

Resources at the event were on hand to help victims trying to find a way out of an abusive situation.

After the event they release balloons for those lost to domestic violence and those who were ready to release hurt and pain from abuse.

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