AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – Reportedly, more than 10 million women and men are affected by domestic violence each year.

Family and friends often feel clueless as to how they can help.

But, local advocates against domestic violence say there are ways to assist a loved one trapped in a toxic relationship.

“I was praying, ‘Lord help me to understand what happens when people get sick, or when they get stuck.'”

Maria Lozoya had no clue her prayer would be answered in May of 2020.

That’s when her niece’s mother Chasity Wright was held hostage and shot four times by her now former fiance.

Wright’s daughter ran to Lozoya’s house for help.

“They weren’t arguing. He was a calm mannered guy. He spoke. I never heard him raise his voice.”

Like many family and friends, she became the answer to prayers when the unexpected happened to a loved


SafeHomes Domestic Center Executive Director Aimee Hall says, “so, I get a lot of calls from moms and grandmas and aunts and they see their loved one is in an abusive situation and they don’t know what to do.”

SafeHomes Domestic Violence Center covers the CSRA and communities across the state.

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“Don’t judge! Listen. Keep that open line of communication so they can trust you. Don’t ask questions like ‘why don’t you just leave?,” says Hall.

She also says use the two Bs.. believe and do not blame.

“Continue to be that non-judgemental, listening ear, trust what they’re saying and at some time they’re going to leave. The stats say it’s one in seven times and I have seen that more than not.”

For many victims, walking away is just as painful as the abuse.

Maria Lozoya says taking that path can come in phases.

“She’s either in the beginning phase to where it just happened and he’s apologizing now and he’s promising that “I’ll never do it again.” She’s believing that. Or, she’s in the phase where it has happened again and she’s hoping that he’ll never do it again. Or, she’s in that final stage of now I’m trying to plot on how to get out of here. Once she starts talking to friends, family about it, she’s ready, listen.”

It’s been more than a year since Chasity Wright’s nightmare with her former fiance.

While Lozoya prayed for understanding.

She says prayer also helped them all move on.

“We didn’t focus on that day and we didn’t stop at that day. We kept getting up and we kept praying and we kept seeking guidance like “help us get through this,” says Lozoya.

For more information contact: SafeHomes Domestic Violence Center
706-736-2499 or 1-800-799-SAFE.

Also, contact the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, Inc.