FLOWOOD, Miss. (WLBT) - October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month and for 41 years, the often shunned situations have become a national topic.
According to experts, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men will be impacted by domestic violence in their lifetime.
Advocates against domestic violence say you can make the difference in ending the abusive cycle.
In late September, 52-year-old Angelina Billingsley was discovered shot to death inside her vehicle in the driveway on Twisted Oaks Drive in Jackson.
Police identified the shooter as her ex-boyfriend, 53-year-old Ronnie Spires.
He left the scene and was later found in his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that the most dangerous time for a domestic violence victim is when they exit the relationship.
“When it comes to domestic violence, the statistics are extremely high when an individual tries to leave the relationship,” said MS Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Wendy Mahoney. “They’re in a greater risk for imminent danger because that individual is losing their power and control."
The agency head said those in abusive relationships often need the help of family, friends and co-workers to escape.
“What we want to do, just across the board, is educate people to not miss the signs if you see something or if someone is not able to look you in the face and talk about their relationship,” said Mahoney.
Warning signs include: victim isolation from family and friends, appearing more withdrawn, if their finances are restricted by their partner and, of course, obvious signs of physical abuse.
The Coalition is a victim referral for legal services including protection orders, divorce, child custody and more.
“'I am my brother’s keeper.' We’ve gotten away from that,” added Mahoney. “'That’s their business over there. Oh, I hear something going on. Oh, that’s not my business,' but it should be our business to care about individuals who may be experiencing something within their relationship”.
On October 22th, the organization will hold their annual Candlelight Vigil in honor and memory of Domestic Violence Victims at the State Capitol.