Small town fights back against abuse

EMPORIA (KSNT)- The commercials during Super Bowl XLIX  certainly painted a picture for one goal the NFL is trying to accomplish, stopping domestic violence.

The ads were prompted by charges several NFL players have faced for assaulting their loved ones. A problem frequently focused on in Kansas’ major cities, but the smaller communities grapple with it as well.

In Emporia, Kansas a community of about 25,000 people, nearly one call, in every ten to 911 is for domestic assault.

“It starts off slow with verbal abuse,” said, victim of abuse who asked not to be identified.

You just don’t think about it outside our big cities, but domestic violence is present.

“Being held against the wall by my throat, was just what did I do wrong now, what did I say wrong,”

And it’s abuse that can turn deadly.

“One night I had a gun to my head, and I just remember looking at her and told her to pull the trigger, just do it, I didn’t care anymore,” said the victim.

Many survivors hide in fear, not knowing where to turn for help, and yet it’s there.

“First thing we do is worry about their safety, safety is our number one priority,” Connie Cahoone, Executive Director, SOS said.

When Emporia Police are called on a domestic issue they contact SOS, an organization that helps those affected by domestic abuse find shelter, and get the resources they need.

“We understand, we believe them, we want them to come to us.” Connie Cahoone, Executive Director, SOS said.

Under Kansas law, when police get called to a domestic abuse call, they abuser will face charges.

“So the city or state will press charges because a lot of the time the victim is afraid of retaliation.” Sgt. Ray Mattas, Emporia Police Department said.

Yet in the State of Kansas in 2013, there were more than 23,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported, and only about 12,000 actually resulted in an arrest.

“We realize they may go back, but and at the same time we give them tools to be able to handle whatever they might be facing.” Connie Cahoone, Executive Director, SOS

So the challenge is getting the victim, to break the cycle.

“You do want to care for someone in your life, you want them to care for you, but somewhere along the way it gets very unhealthy,” Yvette Sosa, Victim Advocate said

Like guardian angels, groups like SOS are waiting for the call.

“I got away, and a lot of people don’t,” said the victim.

The SOS organization is funded by grants, so any victim seeking help can go there for free for any services they provide. Anyone seeking their services can contact them online at soskansas.com, at the 24 hour hotline (800) 825-1295, or at the Emporia number at (620) 343-8799

 

 

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