SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- One in four women and one in seven men in Memphis have been victims of domestic violence, according to the Family Safety Center. And those are only the reported cases.
Just this past week, three prominent men in Memphis have been arrested for domestic abuse.
All three men are innocent until proven guilty but on Wednesday, WREG's Bridget Chapman spoke with advocates about how cases are affected when the suspects have standing in the community.
“That’s why it’s so hard for people to process it, because there’s no cookie-cutter image for what this is supposed to look like,” said Jordan Moore Howard with the Family Safety Center.
Early Saturday morning, police arrested Anthony Young, 45, after his girlfriend said he punched her in the face several times during an argument. Young’s a 9th grade English teacher and a soccer coach at Central High School.
Later that day, Memphis attorney Duncan Ragsdale was arrested for slapping his girlfriend after police say she accused him of cheating on her.
The 72-year-old first became known in the late '70s after running for congress. He later made headlines for filing a lawsuit over the construction of FedEx Forum.
Abuse victim advocates say abusers with status aren’t always held accountable.
“They have that power and control at work and in their social life, so then when they apply it to their relationships, they think they can get away with it because they get away with it in every other aspect of their life.”
On Sunday, Shelby County Commissioner Justin Ford was arrested after police say he choked and hit his girlfriend, and wouldn’t let her leave the car they were in.
WREG discovered he’d been accused of domestic violence three times in the past but was never prosecuted.
Advocates say in many cases, abusers threaten or intimidate victims not to come forward.
“[For example], this abuser has used their money to further abuse the victim and then you got society jumping on the bandwagon re-traumatizing that person that’s already been through so much.”
Howard says community members often don’t have the same empathy for victims in high-profile cases, either quick to not trust them or think they’re better off than other victims.
She says it’s a dangerous mindset that only encourages that next act of violence and keeps victims scared to speak out.
The Family Safety Center is available for all domestic abuse victims in our area, along with many other resources. If you or anyone you know has been a victim, you can call 901-222-4400.