Domestic abuse still highest percent of assault cases
By Rima Austin | July 9, 2018 6:15 am
Domestic violence statistics were recently released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that indicated women were three times more likely to be the victims.
According to domestic violence experts, there is a misconceived notion that domestic abuse is limited to a person being physically attacked by a romantic partner. A domestic violence victim is someone who is being verbally and mentally abused; someone whose words, thoughts and deeds are being restricted; and someone who is forced into sexual activity.
According to TBI’s Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System, from 2012 to 2014, simple assault was the most frequently reported offense. Of these offenses, 68.4 percent of them were domestic violence related, and women were three times more likely to be the victim in these cases. Of all the murder victims during this period, 270 of them were domestic violence related.
“Karly,” an abuse victim, was with her husband for 15 years. She stated that he told her that he would kill her if she ever tried to leave. She expressed that when he went to bed at night, she would have to lay in the bed with him, and, if she moved, he would wake up and ask her where she was going.
“One day he stayed out drinking and came home drunk, and when he came home he passed out,” said Karly. “I had been putting money away for a while. I packed a bag, grabbed the money and went to a friend’s house. We contacted the shelter, and they told me to get on a bus and come there. I waited for that bus for four hours, but I finally got away.”
Melissa Garrett, executive director of Genesis House, in Cookeville, stated that their facility, as well as their hotline for domestic abuse and sexual assault, is available 24 hours a day. She stated that Genesis House has advocates on staff who work with the victims as court liaisons and help the victims understand what is going on as far as the process. She explained that should anyone need a rape kit done, the advocate will be called to be present.
“An advocate will be called at any time the test needs to be done,” said Garrett. “They will come out, and whether it’s to hold her hand or his hand, they will be there.”
Shavonda Jones, housing and court advocate for Genesis House, said her job is to help walk victims through the process of the court system and help them get back on their feet again.
“The goal is to transfer them from the shelter to public housing,” said Jones. “In court, I talk to the victims just to keep them informed of what’s going on and tell them about our services.”
Anyone who needs help with domestic abuse or sexual assault, in White County, should contact Genesis House on the hotline at 800-707-5197 or by calling the National Domestic Abuse hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). A more in-depth list of resources can also be found at www.thehotline.org