Lynchburg, VA - Governor Bob McDonnell is urging all citizens to speak out against domestic violence. He released a public service announcement on the issue, saying "the signs of abuse often go overlooked." Many in our area agree.
As a former prosecutor and attorney general, McDonnell has seen many cases of domestic violence. His goal is to protect the victims and assure that offenders are brought to justice.
"By the time you're done watching this, four women in the United States will have been battered by their husband, their boyfriend, or their domestic partner," said McDonnell in his PSA.
It could be happening closer than you think.
"It's time to kind of cut the crap and get right down to the fact that this happens and we need to do something about it," said Jenna Foster, community outreach manager at YWCA.
Since 2008, Lynchburg Police have responded to nearly 4,000 domestic violence calls.
"The longer it goes on, it tends to get worse without intervention," said Lt. Dave Gearheart with LPD.
Victims here in Central Virginia are often sent to Jenna Foster.
"At 3 o'clock in the morning with black eyes and cuts and bumps and bruises, no shoes," said Foster, talking about the victims she's seen.
But domestic abuse isn't always physical, it can also be emotional, economic or sexual abuse.
And it's a problem that doesn't typically go away on its own.
"At least in my experience, very few times can families work these ongoing domestic issues out by themselves," said Lt. Gearheart.
Foster says in this day and age, one in three women are victims of domestic violence.
"If you fit 20 women in a room that's practically seven women right there, which is awful," said Foster.
So, the advice: If you see the signs speak up.
"Stop the violence, stop the silence," said McDonnell in the PSA.
If you believe someone is a victim of domestic violence, Foster suggests easing into the conversation, show them you care and make them feel comfortable opening up.
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