Wednesday at Dumont Plaza, survivors of domestic violence abuse and supporters stood strong.
“At school, at work, at home…one of those people in our circles very well could be a victim of domestic violence. Even though we don’t know it’s going on, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” said Sara Smith, the community coordinator at the Care Lodge Domestic Shelter in Meridian.
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the center threw a celebration of freedom downtown for the survivors.
“Living with a past that has abuse in it, whether you’ve been affected directly or if it’s been somebody in your family or a friend, it hurts nonetheless. We wanted to unite together with them today to remember them,” said Smith.
According to statistics, around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. There have been a number of Domestic Violence cases in Lauderdale County this year alone.
“We have 170 flags laid out over here. That represents the number of domestic violence arrests in Lauderdale County from January 1st to October 3rd, 2017. It’s really easy to read stats on paper but here is a visual representation.”
If you’re unsure whether you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here are a few warning signs:
“There can be things like manipulation or control. Telling you who you can and cannot talk to. Maybe they’re saying you can’t go to school or work anymore because you need to stay at home. It basically sucks the life out of you,” said Smith.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can call Care Lodge at 601 – 693 – HOPE.