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Violence against women on the rise

Every day, thousands of women face the terror of physical, emotional, and mental abuse at the hands of their loved ones. This month, Crime Tracker is fighting back against domestic violence.
"It's a serious issue,” Lt. Terry Hastings with the Little Rock Police Department said. “It's something we deal with everyday."

"There's only so much a restraining order, or order of protection can do," Dorcas VanGilst of Dorcas House says:

"It is a serious situation," Rep. Linda Tyler (D-Conway) said.

“They're not alone,” Jayne Ann Kita of the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence said. “It's not their fault and there are people out there who want to help."

Strong and powerful statements, all addressing an alarming problem that can leave a person emotionally, physically and mentally damaged.

One victim, who we are not identifying, experienced the worst of it.

"He would grab me, smother me, shove me against the wall... and would even pull a pistol on me," she said.

Whether it's domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or rape - violence against women is growing at an alarming rate.

Statistics tell the story: here in Arkansas, an estimated 230,000 women are raped at some point in their lifetime. 210,000 are stalked, and 420,000 experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

Nationally it's just as bad.

One in four women claim they have been violently attacked by their husbands or boyfriends. One in three women have been raped, assaulted or stalked by a partner. And 29 million women have suffered severe and frightening physcial violence, including being choked, beaten, stabbed, punched - or even shot.

"I'm really concerned about the spike in violence. I'm concerned about the homicides we've had this year," Kathy Findley, Executive Director of Safe Places said.

Case in point: just last month, Bryant Police say Ronnie Stewart shot and killed his ex-girlfriend Jenny Cavender just outside Saline Memorial Hospice.

“It's a sad day,” Matt Brumley, foundation director at Saline Memorial Hospital said. “It's something no one is used to."

And in Arkadelphia, Clark County Deputies say Donald Hux shot and killed his ex-wife's husband, then kidnapped her and the kids. By the time Deputies tracked down hux, his former wife was dead and police killed him in an exchange of gunfire.

"It's a very dangerous situation,” Lt. Hastings said. "You're dealing with two people that have emotional ties and that makes it dangerous because they can turn on you."

For those who do survive and find a way out, the emotional impact - along with the physical and mental damage - can be hard to overcome. There's also the never ending fear that the attacker, regardless of an order of protection, will come back and strike again.

"You get a lot of... if you leave, you know I'm going to find you and kill you anyway,” one victim said.

“Did you believe him?” FOX16’s Kevin Kelly asked.

“Absolutely,” the victim responded. “Absolutely."

But there is a way to fight back. Victims just have to realize one simple fact: You don’t have to do it alone.

"They're not alone,” Kita said. “It's not their fault and there are people out there who want to help."

Support Hotlines

Arkansas Crisis & Support Line
1-877-432-5368

U.S. Hotline
1-866-331-9474

Safe Places
501-801-2700

ShoothouseUSA
Training@ShoothouseUSA.com

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