Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Advocates weigh in on state of abuse in Capital Region

In 2021, domestic violence made up 36 homicide cases. This year, the number is down to 21, but there are still a few more months to go.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 7:44 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A balloon release on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol will honor the dozens of people killed by domestic violence this year.

In 2021, domestic violence made up 36 homicide cases. This year, the number is down to 21, but there are still a few more months to go.

Suzanne Hamilton is the executive director of the Capital Area Family Justice Center in Baton Rouge. She said it is important to pay attention to the signs to prevent that number from rising.

“Victims live in isolation and so, simply noticing isolation in my sister or my cousin,” said Hamilton. “She used to come around all the time, but she got this new boyfriend and she’s not coming around us anymore.”

Twahna P. Harris is the founder of The Butterfly Society, which helps victims of domestic violence get out of abusive relationships. She said a person’s life could change in a matter of time.

“The relationship starts off well, it starts off perfect, and then, one day you see this other side of this person, this dark side of this person,” said Harris. “They introduce you to this dark side of them, and before you know it, you’re in this relationship for years.”

Tamika Edwards is a survivor of more than 20 years of abuse. She shared that life as she knew it started to fade away when she married her abuser.

According to Edwards, she grew accustomed to walking on eggshells and began to think her feelings were invalid.

“I’ve seen so many domestic abuses with physical that I just thought what I was going through was normal because so many people don’t talk about mental-emotional abuse,” said Edwards.

She is now authoring a book focused on turning victims into victorious survivors and is on a mission to help women understand that they are valued.

“I have this crazy vision that one day, if God says the same, I will build an apartment to help women get free because it’s hard,” added Edwards.

Advocates in the Capital Region want to educate and bring awareness to domestic violence issues across the state, hoping to decrease abuse all around.

The Domestic Violence Balloon Release will be held at the Louisiana State Capitol on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11:30 a.m.

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