Domestic Violence Awareness Month - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Lawton_Domestic violence is at a more than 500% increase.  Lawton's woman's shelter "New Directions" typically houses about five people (including children) during the month of October, but the program director says they have 28 already.  They say the struggling economy may have something to do with the spike in domestic violence cases.  Since it's about power and control, a lack of money or the loss of a job can exacerbate violence.  Whatever the reason for domestic violence, victims should get out of the situation.

Sheila Windover was a victim of emotional abuse by her ex-husband, and she said she simply couldn't take it anymore.  "He did everything to manipulate me, he told me everything negative," she said.  "He didn't like the fact that I was continuing my education so he hid my books - he didn't want me to study.  He tried to make sure I didn't have friends, he told my friend stuff because he didn't want me to have any contact with people."  Windover is now a counselor at New Directions and is helping other women heal from abusive relationships. 

A woman we will call Jane left her abusive home months ago.  "It was a constant everyday battle with my husband," she said.  "It was like you couldn't sit this way, you couldn't turn that way, you couldn't go that way, you couldn't look that way."  After 11-and-a-half years, Jane said she had had enough.  "I was just existing," she said.  "But now I'm living today - I'm living today."

A new report has put more focus on the dangers of domestic violence.  The Violence Policy Center ranks Oklahoma fourth in the country with women killed by men.  The study compared data from 2006 - when 38 women were murdered statewide.  36 of those victims were killed by someone they knew, 61% were wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.

Shiela and Jane have advice for every woman who may think there is no way out.  Both say it can be done, victims will survive.  They say that one hit will always lead to another, and one fight will always lead to another.  They advise victims of domestic violence not to feel intimidated - just to get out.

The program director of New Directions says Oklahoma's ranking of fourth in the nation of men killing women, is proof that domestic violence cannot be ignored in the state or in your community.  If you live in Comanche County and you need help getting out of an abusive relationship, call the New Directions Hotline at 580-357-2500, and someone will answer 24-hours-per-day.

If you need immediate assistance, dial 911.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Operated by the Texas Council on Family Violence.

To locate an organization that offers support and services in your area, contact your State Coalition. Click here to view our State Coalition List.

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