Domestic violence survivor encourages others to get help - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Domestic violence survivor encourages others to get help

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A newly released report on crime by the TBI highlights some startling statistics about domestic violence.

This comes just after two local and deadly domestic cases.

The Partnership for Families, Children and Adults in Chattanooga receives nearly 10,000 calls a year for domestic violence, some wanting information of signs and services, others reaching out for help. They service nearly 1,200 people a year in domestic abuse relationships.

"It was abusive pretty much from the beginning. There was physical abuse, but there was a lot of the mental abuse," said Mara, a victim of domestic violence. "He would tell me you won't like it out there. You would just get eaten alive." "I couldn't make it on my own. I couldn't be loved. I deserved to be in that situation and deserved to be abused. I really believed it then."

It was a toxic relationship that Mara says she didn't even know she was in, until she began working at the partnership and read the signs of domestic abuse. That's when she knew something needed to be done.

"I don't even know where the courage came from. It almost came out of nowhere," said Mara.

But leaving didn't make the problem go away. "He would show up at my house all hours of the night, banging on my doors and windows," said Mara.

It wasn't until law enforcement got involved that the harassment ended.

It's a decision she's never regretted, saying she doesn't know where her life would be if she hadn't left. "I don't know. I don't know if I'd even be alive", said Mara.

Regina McDevitt with The Partnership says not every story ends up a success. She says many victims are too afraid of what would happen, if they did leave. "When you've been told enough times you can't leave, you can't get out, no one is going to love you, no one is going to care for you," said McDevitt. And at the end of the day, the abusee often times still loves the abuser. "This is the person they've had children with. They have a relationship with and nobody wants that to end. but they want that abuse to end."

We found out from the TBI that 51% of crimes against people in Tennessee are from domestic abuse.

McDevitt says there is hope for anyone in an abusive relationship and anyone thinking to leave needs to have a safety plan in place, and doesn't need to go through with the plan alone.

"I know the situation seems so hopeless and it gets really scary but there is hope and on the other side of it you can be happy. You can be really happy," said McDevitt.

In an Abusive Relationship?

Signs of an abusive relationship include:
  • · Physical Abuse
  • · Verbal Abuse
  • · Isolation from Family and Friends
  • · Abusive and Intimidating Behavior
  • · Controlling Behavior
  • · Controlling Finances
  • · Extreme Jealousy
  • · Using Humiliation
Tips on Leaving:

  • Let people you trust know about the abuse.
  • Leave money, important documents, and clothes with someone you trust.
  • Determine who will let you stay with.
  • Keep the hotline number nearby (423) 755-2700.    
  • Get an emergency cell phone to call 911.
  • Be internet safe. Change passwords and block abuser from social networking sites
  • Avoid letting your abuser know you are planning to leave.
  • Practice how to get out of your home safely.
  • Teach your children how to call 911 and have a code word for when they should call.

If you want help, or if you have questions about domestic abuse or services offered by The Partnership, you can call their 24-hour hotline at (423) 755-2700. Or visit their website by clicking here.
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