NWLA church tackles domestic violence through stories and prayer

Updated: May. 19, 2018 at 9:54 PM CDT
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CULLEN, LA (KSLA) - A Northwest Louisiana church is confronting the stigma around domestic violence through testimonies and prayer.

Evening Star Church in Cullen, LA, hosted its first domestic violence seminar, which included survivors of domestic violence opening up about their unthinkable situations.

Diana Roberison, the pastor of Evening Star, said it's time to take a stand against a problem she believes often goes overlooked.

"We have a lot of people that are in that situation but don't know how to get out of it," Roberison said. "They feel that they are trapped, but there are ways to get out."

Domestic violence survivors from Texas and Louisiana spoke to the public about their terrifying relationship and opened up about how they persevered.

"I went through domestic violence sexually, verbally, mentally and physically," said Stefanie Degraftenreed, an invited speaker. "I noticed there was a problem when he started neglecting me."

Degraftenreed said her abuser is the last person people expected, making her feel increasingly vulnerable and isolated.

"I was married to a minister for 25 years," Degraftenreed said. "He started putting his hands on me physically."

Degraftenreed said domestic violence is easily missed and can often go unnoticed unless the victim seeks help.

"It's real, it is real," Degraftenreed said. "I think people should come together in unity."

Roberison said if you think you're in an abusive relationship — get out immediately.

"Seek help and don't leave your family or friends out," Roberison said. "Be aware of domestic violence and know the signs."

Though this is the first workshop hosted by Evening Star centered around domestic violence, Roberison said she hopes to hold a seminar every year.

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