MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Statistics show 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime – that’s according to the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County.
Officials with the Family Safety Center said on average, they assist 6,000 victims in Shelby County a year. WREG spoke to experts who said that’s why their goal for Domestic Violence Awareness month is to raise awareness in the community.
On September 29th, Memphis Police said a woman walked into the Austin Peay precinct claiming her ex-boyfriend – Gershun Freeman – attacked her.
Police said she had several bruises on her face and body. According to the victim, the assault started outside a Parkway Village apartment unit. She said after Freeman repeatedly hit her, he allegedly dragged her by her hair and forced her into her vehicle.
Memphis Police said the suspect brought the victim to a U-haul parking lot on Austin Peay Highway. According to reports, the victim told officers that the suspect told her he was going to kill her and put her body in one of these empty U-haul trucks.
Court documents said Freeman continued assaulting the victim before walking off. A man who didn’t want to be on camera said he knows Freeman personally.
“They like a good couple. So, if something happened in their relationship, it ain’t like he just abused her,” the man said.
This is just one of the many cases Martha Jackson with the Family Safe Center of Memphis and Shelby County said her office sees every day. She works as a Coordinated Community Response Specialist.
“You may not have seen the physical abuse but there are other underlying types of abuse that could be happening,” Jackson said.
She said on average, the Memphis Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office assist more than 350 victims a week.
According to their data, Jackson said 70 percent of all Shelby County inmates have once either been the victim of a domestic violence situation or the perpetrator.
She goes on to say so far, there have been at least 24 domestic violence-related homicides across the county this year — an increase from last year.
“Domestic Violence is not a stereotype. It’s not one type of demographic. It’s everyone. Men, women, children, rich or poor. It has no face,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she wants the public to know there are resources available for anyone looking for help.
“It’s not your fault. If someone is abusing you, you don’t have to be ashamed. You don’t have to be embarrassed and you’re not alone,” Jackson said.
If you or someone you know is involved in a domestic violence situation, Jackson said you can call the Family Safety Center’s 24-hour crisis hotline at 901-800-6064.
On October 20th, the Family Safety Center will be partnering with the City of Memphis to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month by hosting informational sessions on how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and where to turn to get help.