Hope and help for domestic violence victims

A photo of Monica Jordan's daughter, killed in a domestic violence situation.
A photo of Monica Jordan's daughter, killed in a domestic violence situation.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's a domestic violence story making headlines across the country, Rhythm and Blues singer Chris Brown is accused of felony assault for the brutal attack on his girlfriend, singer Rihanna.

The assault happened last month in Los Angeles, California but it is far from being a 'big city' problem. Talk of Rihanna going back to her alleged abuser even has talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey fuming, and it's a sentiment echoed right here in the capital city.

"I thought about my daughter," Monica Jordan said. This Montgomerian knows all too well the horror of such a crime. Rewind fourteen years and Jordan still vividly remembers when her 19-year-old daughter was murdered. The suspect, her own boyfriend, later committed suicide.

"It's easy to say 'get out' but it's not easy to get out..." And an overriding question so many outsiders want to know; why do battered spouses often go back to an abuser?

"What we have to understand are the psychodynamics of domestic violence," says Lt. Steve Searcy. He makes that his job as the head of the Montgomery Police Department's Domestic Violence Unit. "The victim loves this person," he says, " and they want to buy into the concept that they [the abuser] are going to change."

Searcy has a map of the capital city in his office with a rainbow of blue and red dots covering it. They're the indicators of the 8,100 domestic violence calls that poured into MPD in 2008.

There is hope, however. Part of protecting the abused is developing a plan for safety, something Searcy says they do after seeing so many battered spouses.

Searcy and his counterparts sit down with the victims and develop those plans, of which he adds the most important part is getting them into a domestic violence shelter.

In the average 8,000 DV calls that come into MPD every year, two or three turn into domestic homicides.

If you're being abused there is help to break the cycle. The Family Sunshine Center has a 24-hour hotline number if you find yourself in this situation. Call 1-800-650-6522.