By Brittany Pieper – email
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) –Already this year, six people have been murdered in Caddo Parish as a result of domestic violence. That's compared to the 3 to 5 a year in most recent years.
Nationally, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in her life time. On average, three women and one man die every day in the U.S. because of domestic violence, and it's the leading cause of injury to women ages 15-44.
Etta Thomas, Brian Spinks, Shanathan Prude, Kevin Cordell Smith, Shericka Pratt, and Sir Terrance Miles each lost there lives this year because of domestic violence in Caddo Parish. Police arrested the suspect in each case, except one in which the suspect also apparently killed himself.
"We've seen 6 already in the first 6 months of the year. Of course, that's disturbing," said Bill Goodin with the Shreveport Police Department.
Police say Domestic Violence is one of the most underreported crimes, but victims say it's difficult report or leave someone you love.
"I love him, and I know that it's always going to be in the back of my mind. Will they ever change," said one victim, who asked us to conceal her identity.
She left after her boyfriend gave her a black eye.
"I asked him to leave and he wouldn't leave. That's when I picked up the phone," she said.
Police took her boyfriend to jail, and she went to the Providence House. Now, almost a week later, the bruises have started to fade, but the emotional pain stings more than ever.
"Just when I was gaining that trust and that strength as a woman, it got knocked back down," the victim said.
She has started counseling and recovery programs through the Providence House.
"Safety is always first, and then we want to make sure that they regain as much of dignity and become empowered to move on with the rest of their life," said Shirley Stewart, the Domestic Violence Program Manager at Providence House.
The Providence House offers counseling, legal advocacy, financial planning, and job hunting services.
"Our main goal is that to make sure that they are safe and to make sure that they understand that there is another choice. They don't have to go back to that situation," said Stewart.
When abuse victims go to the Providence House, the staff takes them to their safe house in a secret location for their safety. For women who do not want to go to the safe house, Providence House also offers free counseling to any woman who needs help. You can call their crisis line at (318) 698-7273.