Mo. Ranked 7th in Men Killing Women, Abuse Survivor Speaks Out

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. According to a new report by the Violence Policy Center, Missouri ranks 7th in the U.S. in men killing women. The report indicates 53 females were murdered by males in Missouri in 2012-- about 98-percent of whom were murdered by someone they knew.

The report arrives on the heels of a recent homicide in Springfield that prosecutors say was a domestic situation.

"I started being abused by my intimate partner when I was 16," said Felicia Rose, a survivor of domestic abuse.

After enduring three years of violence, Rose finally found help.

"The biggest thing is the entrapment you don't even realize it's going on, but it's extremely hard to get out of," said Rose.

Rose is now helping victims of domestic abuse at Harmony House.

"There's nothing more powerful than bringing meaning to your own suffering and it makes what you went through worth it if in the end you can help somebody else," said Rose.

Unlike Rose, some victims of abuse aren't so lucky.

"Murders can happen at any point, but that's when it gets most dangerous, is at the point when the victim has chosen to leave," said Rose.

According to Springfield Police, two of the eight homicides this year have been domestic-related.

"The numbers have been increasing over the last several years as far as reports of domestic violence," said Lt. Tad Peters.

A new report by the Violence Policy Center ranks Missouri seventh in the U.S. in men killing women. According to the report, 48-percent of the female victims were killed with guns. But firearms are just one of many weapons of abuse.

"An offender will use any tool necessary and any tool they have access to to keep a victim in their control and under their power," said Brandi Bartel, The Victim Center Executive Director.

Bartell said The Victim Center has seen a 38-percent increase in their clientele compared to this time last year-- and women aren't the only victims.

"Domestic violence is not exclusive to only women or only children, it certainly affects all people of all socioeconomic backgrounds," said Bartell.

Rose said the public shouldn't judge victims for their decisions, and victims, themselves, should know that help is out there.

"It may not be over in a matter of days, weeks, or even a year or more," said Rose. "But that doesn't mean it's not worth trying to get out because nobody has to stay and nobody deserves to stay."

The Family Violence Task Force was formed in 2012 to address the prevalence of domestic abuse in Springfield.

If you or anyone you know may be experiencing abuse, you can call the victim center's 24-hour hotline at 417-864-SAFE or call 9-1-1.


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