Domestic violence cases are increasing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Domestic violence cases are increasing

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

January 6, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - There's alarming news affecting millions of families in the United States. Domestic violence is up across the nation.

A new Department of Justice report shows that in just a two-year period, domestic violence cases rose a whopping 42-percent. The economy isn't helping the situation and South Georgia shelters are seeing an influx of battered women and children.

These stories of violence had a happy beginning. "He was like the perfect man--foot massages, supper cooked when I came home, laundry, everything."

Then everything changed.

"He did some things that no woman should have to go through." A 3-year relationship turned into a nightmare for a woman we'll call "Tammy".

"When I didn't want to listen, he beat me. He fractured my ribs. He messed up my face," said Tammy.

We can't identify Tammy because of fear. Another woman we'll call "Tina" has the same fear of being found by her abusive ex-boyfriend who almost killed her. "He put a shotgun to my head," said Tina. "Everything is weird because I have to start from the very bottom of my life."

Both Tina and Tammy managed to escape to a place called Liberty House in Albany. Both are now free from the men who tried to control them with violence. "It's all about the power and control that they think they need to have over another person," said Liberty House Executive Director Silke Deeley.

Liberty House offers shelter to battered women and children. They're already receiving calls in the New Year. "Just today we had five crisis calls," said Deeley.

Deeley fears those calls will increase. "I'm afraid that we're going to see some more severe kinds of violence because of the fact that economically people are hurting," said Deeley.

Last year, crisis calls to Liberty House jumped by more than 200 compared to the year before. Compared to 2007, the number of people seeking shelter more than doubled. "Reaching out and getting some information and getting some intervention helps to keep women from going down that road where homicide may be an eventuality," said Deeley.

That was almost the ending for Tammy and Tina but their stories are now different. Everyday is a struggle being away from family and friends but they're no longer battered.

"It's a struggle but it's a peaceful struggle. I have to start my life over again and hopefully this time it won't be interrupted but with God I can do it," said Tammy.

"It makes me a better person and stronger," said Tina.

They've now closed the chapter on violence to begin a new one at a house meant for liberty.

Liberty House also offers outreach programs that can help keep a woman safe while she stays in her community or home. If you need help or know someone who does, call 229-439-7065.

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