Forum sheds light on domestic abuse

Forum sheds light on domestic abuse

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - The Stephens County District Attorney's Office is on a mission to reduce domestic violence throughout the community.

As part of that mission, they hosted a domestic abuse forum Thursday in Duncan. Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks says he was motivated to put the forum on after the death of 13-year-old Alyssa Wiles. She was murdered by her 16-year-old ex-boyfriend in her bedroom in Duncan three years ago.

Hicks says one out of two women in Oklahoma is a victim of domestic abuse. He says he's tired of seeing people lose loved ones to a senseless act like the Wiles family.

"Everyone had assumed it had been my mom, maybe down visiting, something had happened. No one imagined that it would be something with Alyssa," said Angela Wiles, Alyssa's mother.

Wiles used those words to describe the day she lost her daughter during Thursday's domestic abuse forum. In an audience filled with church members, family and friends, Wiles' message touched home for one young domestic abuse survivor.

"The pushing started turning basically into slamming my head into the wall, hitting me, throwing things at me...that sort of thing," the victim said.

She says her connection to domestic abuse started when she was 18 years old. She met a guy right out of high school and fell in love at first sight.

"In the beginning, there was lots of signs, but at that time, being young, I didn't realize them. He would constantly call me names every time we argued about something," she said.

She says if she could tell the public one thing about domestic abuse, it would be this...

"People need to know the first signs of abuse. You know, if every single argument you get into turns into name calling, them threatening to hit you, but they haven't hit you yet, or controlling you, you're not allowed to go out, they're threatening you and make you feel guilty...walk out immediately," she said.

Hicks says Oklahoma ranks third in the nation for women killed by a man in an intimate partner relationship. 

"I find that quite frankly that appalling that Oklahoma is number three in the nation for that, and decided that based upon some of the things I've seen here tonight with the Wiles family to talk about what happened to Alyssa. I felt like it was time to address that issue with the community and throughout my district," said Hicks.

He says his goal for the forum was to get some of the available resources for victims of crimes and let people know help is available.

He says he will also implement similar type of domestic abuse forums in Caddo, Grady and Jefferson counties.

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