Domestic Abuse Increases During The Holidays

LITTLE ROCK, AR — Domestic violence is on the rise during the holidays.

The proof — according to the director of a Little Rock women’s shelter — there’s about a 20% increase of women seeking help this time of year at her shelter.

We spoke to a domestic violence survivor who shares some important advice for those in similar situations.
She says realizing your value and getting help are keys to pushing through the feeling of worthlessness and without those things, Erika Killian says she wouldn’t be alive today.

“I’m on medication. I have to actively seek current counseling. But it’s a part of who I am. It’s a part of my past and I kind of use it as a rear view mirror,” Killian said.

More than three years ago, Killian says her boyfriend hit her with a car and left her for dead.

Killian is considered lucky because she found help…not everyone does.

Rebecca Bennett — with Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence — says 30 people were killed by domestic violence — in Arkansas — last year.

And Bennett says the stress of the holidays can make things worse because some people feel trapped.

She said, “We all know that they return to their abusers male or female an average of 7 to 8 times. So this time of the year has the potential of adding to this ratio.”

But asking for help can be the difference between life and death and Bennett says even during the holidays it’s there when you need it.

Dorcas House is a safe place for women and children in Little Rock.

The past few weeks they’ve received a 20% increase in phone calls from women needing help.

While there’s limited space this time of year, no one will be turned away.

Dorcas VanGilst said, “Go ahead and take that step to safety and we’re here to provide that for you.”

Killian says places like Dorcas House saves lives and she should know because a women’s shelter helped to save hers.

She said, “You get one shot, one opportunity at life and this is it and you’ve got to find your bootstraps.”

All the women we talked to today say domestic violence almost always starts with verbal and emotional abuse.

Telling you you’re crazy and accusing you of affairs are two very common phrases used by abusers.

According to the Central Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 75% of domestic homicides occur after the relationship ends.

That’s why experts say it’s important to put a safety plan in place before you try to leave.

For more resources on how to get help, click here.

If you would like to follow Melissa Schroeder’s reports on Facebook, you can click here and like her page.

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