SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - After two reported cases of domestic disputes on the coast, including a shooting that sent one woman to the hospital Monday, the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence wants domestic violence victims to know how to get help. The nonprofit also wants those who see or suspect the crime to speak up.
"It could be situations where you see a heated discussion out in the public, or it could be strange number of absences from work and coming in with noticeable bruises," said Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence Interim Executive Director Stacey Riley.
Riley said there are many signs of domestic abuse. And while some are easier to spot than others, she said it's important that if you see or know it's happening, speak up.
"A mass movement across the country is bystander intervention. If you see something happen, see something, say something. Just like it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community to address the impact of domestic violence," said Riley.
Riley said many times when a domestic violence victim fails to report the crime they are fearful of retaliation, losing their children or getting arrested themselves. But an upbringing in a violent household also impacts a victim's decision to get out.
"Many times the victim in the relationship will look at how I can make things better. How I can change myself to make this person happier with me more or how I can do things different to where I'm not always accused of doing something I haven't done. And then you have situations to where there's a lot of people who have been in multiple violent relationships or were raised in violent homes," Riley explained.
Ultimately she said educating the public on how to get the right kind of help for domestic violence victims is key.
"A situation to like, why didn't she just leave? We know that whenever they leave they are more likely for a homicide to take place in that situation. That's when most domestic violence homicides take place is after the victim leaves the relationship," she added.
As for anyone who may think they are in an abusive relationship, but may be afraid to leave, the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence has two shelters on the coast. They help both men and women impacted by domestic violence. To learn more about the Gulf Coast Center for nonviolence call 228-435-1968.