Sudden spike in domestic violence raises concerns

Sudden spike in domestic violence raises concerns

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - A fatal shooting in Pascagoula on Monday morning marks the fourth domestic violence death in recent days from three separate incidents.

A murder-suicide on a street in Gulfport, a fatal shooting at a home in Jackson County and now this workplace shooting in Pascagoula.

Can such deaths be prevented?  Experts say yes.

There's no telling exactly when a domestic situation might escalate to deadly violence, but there are generally warning signs.

"That he has a gun. That he's threatened, threatened to kill you," said Sandra Morrison, Director of the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Nonviolence. "The violence is escalating. The duration from an explosive incident to the next incident has shortened."

Morrison says fear is the number one reason many abused women never call for help.

"Women stay because they're threatened. I'll kill you if you leave me. I don't know all of the circumstances, but that could have happened in these three domestic homicides," Morrison explained.

Morrison says jealousy could be an early sign that all is not right in a relationship.

"They see that as a form of flattery. Well, in reality it may be a form of the beginnings of the power and control over this individual, and that's what domestic violence is about," said Morrison.

Those who help shelter and counsel victims of domestic violence say the biggest challenge facing those victims is learning to overcome their fears.

"The biggest thing is fear of what happens now. How do I take control of my life? How do I support myself and my children? How do I keep myself safe? Because we know the most volatile time is whenever you leave the abuser relationship," said Stacey Myers, clinical services director for the center.

Myers says if the abused make that initial call for help, many will not only survive, but thrive.
After a few weeks of safe shelter and counseling, she begins to see hope in their eyes.

"To know that there is life after abuse is tremendous. There is help out there. Use the resources in the community. Don't do this on your own," urged Myers.

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