Story by: Gitzel Puente
TULSA, Okla. — Monday night’s homicide in Tulsa where a woman was choked to death by a domestic partner is raising questions about abusive relationships.
On average, about 24 people per minute become victims of domestic violence, including stalking and sexual abuse, by an intimate partner in the United States. Abusive behavior affects both men and women from all backgrounds.
“Within domestic partners, they just don’t stop having problems. It can escalate and it can go from assault and battery to strangulation to either shooting or stabbing,” explains Tulsa Police Sergeant Clay Asbill.
He started the Domestic Strangulation Initiative in an effort to reduce violence in the community. He says strangulation is a risk factor for homicide.
From 2017 to 2018, domestic strangulation arrests almost doubled from 146 to 289 in the Tulsa metro area. Reports of chokings also increased from 494 to 700. Arrest numbers also went up from 230 to 408.
Sgt. Asbill says with the right help, you can avoid being the next statistic.
“There are so many resources here that when they walk through the door they can be offered,” says Sgt. Asbill.
He works closely with Tulsa’s Family Safety Center, which offers free resources to domestic violence victims. One of the organizations, Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS), housed at the family center says they help between 15 to 20 walkins a day.
“We provide assistance with protective orders and filling them out. We provide legal representation in family law actions and protective order actions,” says Megan Martin, the Vice President of Legal Services for DVIS.
Martin says last year they helped more than 3,500 people, and they continue to provide assistance free of charge.
The staffed professionals say it’s not too late to get out of an abusive situation safely.
“We work with the client is able and willing to do. It has to be a choice the client makes. It has to be a time that they are ready,” says Martin.
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