Domestic violence takes center stage - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Domestic violence takes center stage

Rihanna (r) shown after alleged assault by boyfriend Chris Brown. Rihanna (r) shown after alleged assault by boyfriend Chris Brown.

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The U.S. Justice Department reports that one in every three women are a victim of some form of domestic abuse.

The recent situation surrounding pop stars Rihanna and Chris Brown is bringing more attention to domestic violence.

In February, 19-year-old Brown was accused of assaulting the 21-year-old woman. Now, just weeks after the assault, the couple is reportedly back together, leaving many to wonder why women go back.

It's a decision experts say is driven by fear, finances and what some may think is love.

"That is not love. Love is respect," said Cindy Ward.

Ward is the special programs director at the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Nonviolence.

She said the recent dispute between pop stars Rihanna and Chris Brown is bringing more attention to domestic violence.

And while 19-year-old Brown is vowing to get help, experts say his problem is not uncommon.

"If you grow up in violence, you are more likely to repeat what is normal to you," said Ward.

Domestic violence statistics are growing across the country, and South Mississippi is no exception.

"It could be the housing problem that we have here even three years later, the whole economic issue. People tend to start drinking or start using drugs and that's just another added stress," said Sandra Morrison.

Morrison is the executive director with the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Nonviolence. She said there are a number of factors for domestic abuse, but there are no excuses.

Morrison said women who find themselves in these situations usually return to their abuser instead of seeking help. In fact, it takes about five times before the woman leaves her abuser.

But now that there is a global spotlight on domestic violence, leaders are hoping it will be a wake-up call for women and their abusers.

Women who need help can call the Gulf Coast Women's Center for non-violence at 1-800-800-1396.

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