Statistics of domestic violence are staggering, and they only seem to keep getting worse. Consider a few of them from the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.
• 1,671 people in Georgia were killed by domestic violence between 2003 and 2016.
• Georgia is ranked No. 8 in the nation for its rate of men killing women.
• There were 65,487 family violence incidents in Georgia in 2015, resulting in 24,710 protective court orders.
• There were 53,414 crisis calls to certified domestic violence agencies in the state in 2016, which led to 5,390 victims and children spending 332,110 nights in shelters.
• In Glynn County, the Glynn Community Crisis Center received 620 calls, resulting in 51 women and 42 children living in Amity House in 2016.
• Nearly half of the victims in fatal domestic violence cases in Georgia were between 13 and 24 years old.
The last statistic might be the most disturbing. It shows how serious and violent these cases can become and how it often impacts youth.
Fixing the problem is anything but simple. Arresting domestic abusers and putting them behind bars is often much more complicated than it may seem. The primary evidence to reach a conviction is often reliant on the abused person testifying against an abuser.
To people on the outside looking in, providing the testimony to put an abuser away should be a no-brainer. But when families — families that could potentially be broken by a conviction — or emotional attachments or crippling fear are involved, the testimony is not a sure thing. Prosecutors frequently have difficulty getting a conviction in domestic violence cases because people are unwilling to testify.
We encourage anyone who is in an abusive relationship to first find a way to get out of it. If you press charges or call the police on your abuser, take advantage of any programs that can help to protect you and follow through with the prosecution.
Also, know that there is a community around you willing to help. Programs like the Glynn Community Crisis Center and others can offer shelter, anonymity and help finding a new path in life that does not involve domestic abuse.
Anyone out there looking for a nonprofit organization to support, consider the crisis center or places like it. The service they provide is life saving and integral to combating a problem that is showing no signs of slowing.
We may never eradicate domestic violence, but we can at least take a few steps in the right direction by prosecuting abusers, protecting victims and educating people about the signs that something is wrong.