The battle to protect women from domestic violence is one Tennessee women's rights activists say the state is losing.
According to a report issued in 2010 by the Violence Policy Center, Tennessee ranked third for violence against women.
From TBI crime statistics, the study showed 62 women were killed by domestic violence in 2010.
“Domestic violence is all around us and it's so easy to turn our heads or not get involved or feel like that's not my business. Domestic violence is everybody's business,” victim Mary Jones told Nashville's News 2.
Jones said at one time, domestic violence was a way of life.
“I met a wonderful man with a really bad problem,” said Jones, who was living in Texas at the time. “It was drugs and alcohol and it wasn't like that in the beginning.”
She added, “He became this other person and there was a lot of isolation, hurtful words and controlling behaviors and things that made me question who he was.”
Jones said she finally got the courage to run away with their children.
“I called the police on my husband when he had grabbed me around the neck and I thought it was going to be my last breath,” Jones recalled.
Jones drove to Middle Tennessee to be with family and finally find the support she needed to heal.
“When I saw everything that I had gone through on this piece of paper it was like 'Oh no, this circle has to be broken,' so I asked for a voice and the YWCA gave it to me,” she said, adding, “My children are older and stronger. I am doing so much better. I'm excited about life. I'm excited to be alive. The YWCA definitely saved the life of me and my children.”
Tom Negri, a board member with the YWCA, told Nashville's News 2, “There's a lack of people speaking out against what is a terribly dark secret.”
Negri added, “We need men to be speaking out against what is not a women's issue, but a humanitarian issue.”
The YWCA staffs a domestic violence hotline that anyone can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
That number is 615-242-1199 or 1-800-334-4628.
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