RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Domestic violence awareness month begins October 1 and advocates are speaking out about how you can spot the signs and help victims.
An estimated 10 million people experience domestic violence in the U.S. every year according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; as many as one in four women and one in nine men. With numbers so staggering, 59News sat down with Reginia Thomas, the Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center of West Virginia, to see how domestic violence and abuse affect the mountain state.
“This was some data from 2018-2019 just in the state of West Virginia, we had an estimated 31 domestic violence-related deaths just here in West Virginia,” Thomas said.
She told 59News some signs to look for if you suspect someone you know may be a victim of abuse.
“The biggest red flag is separation. That control factor, whenever an abuser they really try to separate them from any kind of safe haven of their friends or their families,” Thomas explained. “That’s a big, huge red flag.”
She added openly speaking about domestic abuse and showing support to survivors helps current victims find the courage to speak out and ask for help.
“I think that the best way is to let them know that you are there for them. Whether as a friend or letting them know that they can go to law enforcement or one of our advocacy offices,” she said. “Other victims who are in the same situation, when they see someone else speak out, it gives them the strength to speak out as well.”
The Women’s Resource Center of West Virginia helped more than 190 people last month. If you or someone you know needs help, you can find ways to contact them here.