YWCA organizes march to bring attention to domestic violence
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - October is domestic abuse awareness month, and community members came together to march in Kalamazoo to support domestic violence survivors.
Organizers say vigils and events like these to bring awareness to the issue.
Mary Teske's then-estranged boyfriend was convicted of assault with intent to murder, after breaking into her home in 2013 and brutally attacking her.
The mother of three is still impacted by the traumatic event, and considers herself lucky to be alive.
"I had no idea the signs of domestic violence. I was always told he loves me so much. It was me trying to save him, but didn't realize I needed to save myself," she said.
Teske and dozens of domestic violence survivors, community, and law enforcement leaders took part in a march through downtown Kalamazoo tonight.
The ceremony held to remember survivors, remember victims, and educate the community about this growing problem.
"Even those we can potentially prevent or know someone going through something...then we can help them, female or male," said Lt. Stacey Randolph, with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.
In the city of Kalamazoo this year, there were 1,100 calls for domestic violence situations--200 more than the number of calls in 2015.
In Kalamazoo County, domestic violence makes up ten percent of criminal prosecutions.
"It's the responsibility of all of us to put a stop to it. To call the police, to interview, find a safe space victims," said Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting.
Organizers tell us every minute in the United States, 24 people are victims of domestic abuse, but survivors say they are committed to stopping it.
"We need more people especially people that have been through domestic violence like myself, to reach out to those people. young adults that need us," said domestic abuse survivor Shanice Shannon.
The YWCA of Kalamazoo organized tonight's event.
The organization offers free support and victim counseling and support groups for anyone dealing with domestic violence.