Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. More than car accidents, muggings and rape combined.
Every day more than three women are murdered by their significant other.
Community leaders are coming together to find ways to end domestic violence locally.
“In Georgia, we rank 8th in the nation for domestic violence,” said Omeeka Loggins.
Augusta city officials believe that rank is too high. Now they are educating the community so the can help end domestic violence.
“We can make it a priority,” explained Shauna Biles. “We can make sure it’s no longer the elephant in the room; that we discuss it and we are open about it.”
Biles says domestic violence affects more than the person. It affects everyone around them.
Studies show more than 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
“When they witness those cases it still affects them mentality, physically and emotionally,” said Loggins. “You see that with their instances in school, or instance where they become the abusers.”
NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson spoke with one survivor at the forum.
Valeria McIntyre tells Devin she was a victim of domestic violence back in 1991.
She found help when she called SafeHomes. After 27 years, she is ready to share her story with others.
“The reason why I came here today is, I wanted to thank them for encouraging me to talk to people,” said McIntyre.
After the forum, McIntyre has a message for those who are scared to leave an abusive relationship.
“Get out, come to the forums or whatever there is to offer,” explained McIntyre. “We care, I care, and others care.”
Biles says she will continue to have more discussions with the community about domestic violence every year. She plans to have other events to raise more awareness.