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(Memphis) Many of Gwen Turner’s scars are physical.
“I have scars I will take to my grave. I have cigarette burns on my backside. I have 20% hearing in one ear,” Turner said.
But Turner said her emotional scars run deep.
“It was not easy to tell somebody I’m getting beat for breakfast lunch and dinner,” she said. “I lived under this mask for over 20 years. My parents never knew.”
But eight years ago, Gwen went from victim to survivor. Today she works helping other women at Shelby County’s new Family Safety Center.
It’s a place where victims of family violence can find easy access to all the agencies they need when coming forward as a victim of abuse.
“I want women to know you can get out, you can remain beautiful ,and you can make a new life for yourself. So that’s the reason the Family Safety Center was so needed,” she said.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam was on hand for the Family Safety Center’s grand opening.
“We rank fifth in the nation that are homicide victims killed at the hands of men and that is why facilities like this one and what we are doing with domestic violence penalties are so important,” Haslam said.
He promised $78,500 in Financial support from the state.
Olliette Murry-Drobot is the Family Safety Center’s Executive Director.
“It’s easy to access. Folks know where to go victims know where to come as well as their neighbors and coworkers,” she said. “We hold the victim’s hand in the process.”
“The hardest step is that first step and that is getting out. So if you can get everything done in a one stop shop you will be on a roll,” Turner said.
Turner said hopefully it will put women on the path to being free.
Gov. Haslam also mentioned an item passed in the legislature yesterday requiring jail time for repeat offenders. There will be a mandatory minimum of 30 days for a first offense and 90 days for more than one conviction.