WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In light of that, Houston County community members and law enforcement gathered at city hall to honor the lives lost to domestic abuse.
“Our first reactions are always,’ why? Why do you stay? Why are you there? Why can’t you just leave? ‘, and it’s not as easy as those of us who’ve never been through it think it is,” said organizer Jacqueline Herrera.
It crosses the boundaries of race, class, socio-economic status and even gender.
“It can happen it happens everyday your neighbors your relatives, your friends your schoolmates and it’s so important for people to know that,” she added.
Domestic violence can be found in communities and families across the nation and even some close to home.
“At the age of 17, I was a victim of domestic violence. I met this guy who I thought was the most handsome guy in the world. He wined me, dined me and then later put a knife to my throat,” said Ladelia Snell.
Snell is a survivor and now a case manager with Salvation Army SafeHouse.
“If it was not for a good friend of mine, I would’ve lost my life,” she continued.
She shared her story Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil in Warner Robins honoring the men, women, and children who didn’t make it.
“I have to girls that will soon be teenagers and I would never want them to go through the things that I’ve gone through,” she said.
Purple windmills were placed to represent the lives of victims as Herrera read their names off one by one.
“I want them to take away hope, I want them to know that it is getting better, although it’s slowly getting better that you can get involved,” said Herrera.
So, whether that’s an encouraging word to a friend, a co-worker or family member–even letting them know there are resources out there, it could help end the cycle and save a life.
Georgia has the 14th highest homicide rate in the nation for men killing women.
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.