Monday, December 3, 2012
As investigators continue to search for answers in this weekends murder suicide in Kansas City involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher and his girlfriend Kassandra Perkins, domestic violence counselors in Wichita want people to remember similar acts of violence can and do happen here.
"Last year we had 12 domestic violence related deaths in Wichita alone,” Debby Zelli with the YWCA Women's Crisis Center said.
In fact, the directors at the YWCA Women's Crisis Center say domestic violence is up in Wichita and getting worse.
They say this year, about 25 percent more abuse victims turned to the center for help and they can't keep up with the growing demand.
"And we together are having to turn away 50 to 100 women and families per month that may need assistance. We are always fully occupied at the shelter,” Wanda Wilkinson with the YWCA Women's Crisis Center said.
It's not just the number of victims that are up, YWCA directors say so is the severity of the violence.
"You know it's hard to see that it's hard to see women's faces bruised, and broken bones, and teeth kicked out by an abuser,” Zelli said.
The women we spoke with say the economy, or at least the added stress it puts on families, is the reason for the rise in victims and violence.
"There are factors that we know exacerbate it, so the economy is like adding fuel to the flames it tends to increase it. It also decreases the options she may have,” Zelli said.
The directors at the Crisis Center say the women who turn to them have no other options left and most of the time no one around them even knew they were being abused.
T hey say if you suspect someone you know is suffering at home, one of the best things you can do is talk to them.
"Even if you don't know exactly what to say don't be afraid to reach out and say look we can work on this together there are resources to help you and I would like to know if you need help.
If you need help, resources, or just want to talk about domestic violence, you can call 316 – 267 – SAFE. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All callers can remain anonymous.