Raising awareness of domestic violence in Lawton

Raising awareness of domestic violence in Lawton

LAWTON, Okla._ Oklahoma ranks 6th in the nation for women murdered by men as a result of domestic violence.

That's from a study done by the Violence Policy Center. While nothing that extreme has happened lately in Lawton, there have been a total of 13 domestic incidents reported to police in just the past two days.

In recognition of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the New Directions Women's Shelter and the Lawton Police Department are combining forces to let victims know that help is out there. One in six women living in Oklahoma will find themselves in a domestic violence situation at one point in their lives, as reported by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Latricia Kippers, manager of the Marie Detty New Directions Women's Center, says, "Often times the women who are coming in may not have birth certificates, identification, or social security cards.  They have to flee with whatever they have sometimes it's just the clothes on their back."

Lawton Police Captain Craig Akard says he sees domestic violence often and the officers never leave without giving the victims resources.

Akard goes on to say, "It's a sheet that gives the rights of someone that's been a victim of domestic violence.  It gives people that you can call phone numbers that you can call and places where you can receive help from."

Places like Marie Detty New Directions Women's Shelter that offers counseling, food, access to legal advice and programs to obtain employment.

No matter what you arrive with, Kippers says they will help to build you up and most importantly, give you a safe place to go locked up 24/7.

Kippers goes on to say, "Just because a person leaves an abusive relationship it doesn't mean that now it's going to be domestic violence free, because often times the most dangerous time for women is when they make up in their mind to leave. Their partner may still try to contact them still try to harass them. So we try to put things in place… a safety plan."

Counselor Michelle Amerson says New Directions is all about passing hope, and they do it in a tangible way; by using these rocks that are made by women that have walked in the same shoes that the ones coming in the door will be standing in.

Amerson says," When families first get here it's really kind of a scary place. It's not a place anyone ever plans on being, especially teenagers, they aren't exactly thrilled to be here. When I talk to them I can come over here and say here is one that had a 16-year-old daughter and this is what she said."

Each woman's personal story written on the rock to show every ending is a new beginning.

If you would like to help combat domestic violence you can start by lighting up our community purple. New directions is selling these purple light bulbs for $5 on October 16 between 4:00p.m and 8:00p.m. in front of the Walmart on Northwest Sheridan Road.