Southfield's 2021 Walk to Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence

Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 16:48:57-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The city of Southfield hosted a Walk to Raise Awareness of domestic violence on October 3.

Southfield’s 46th District Court, police, and fire department along with other partners united to highlight an issue that experts say has grown at an alarming rate over the years.

One of the survivors at the event Rashonia Johnson, who has been a victim of domestic violence twice said that even with prior experience of abuse it was still hard for her to leave a toxic relationship.

“He was so charming and so nice but behind that, there was a disguise that I didn’t even know till it was too late till I almost lost my life, said Rashonia Johnson. “I just felt obligated to help him, but I felt trapped, if I don’t help him, who's going to help him?”

According to HAVEN’s Melissa Sinclair, domestic violence can happen to anyone in any community.

“We see it in same-sex relationships, we see it boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, and wives, and of course ex-partners, because we know leaving is the most dangerous time,” says Melissa Sinclair.

Southfield’s 46th District Court Judge Shelia Johnson says the pandemic has worsened the issue.

“Last year, we had over 300 cases of domestic violence.. and this year we have half of it so far,” says Shelia Johnson.

As per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the US, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience abuse by their intimate partner.

In fact, on a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

That’s why for Southfield Police Department’s Chief Elvin Barren his force must be well equipped to handle such situations.

“If you look at Domestic violence encounters, it's high emotion. And so it's very important for our police officers are trained in de-escalation and behavior health,” says Chief Elvin Barren.

Meanwhile, Melissa Sinclair says even though domestic violence looks different for everybody, some signs to look out for is Isolation, not having access to funds or money, not communicating with their friends or their family members.

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