Battling Domestic Violence

According to statistics, every 15 seconds a woman becomes a victim of domestic violence. Because this is nationwide, that includes victims right where you are.

A conference on domestic violence in Meridian Friday drew social workers, law enforcement officials and teachers together to learn better how to combat this problem. Professionals say no one is immune.

"We've had doctors, lawyers and we've had those who had no income at all," said Gwen Graham of Care Lodge Domestic Violence Center in Meridian.

Even state Sen. Gloria Williamson of Philadelphia shared how domestic violence in her first marriage affected her life.

"The more he would drink, the more he fought and my children were affected by this," said Williamson.

She says this even affected her daughter in a future relationship.

"He broke four ribs with a baseball bat. She had hair in the back of her head that never grew back where he had pulled it out," Williamson said.

Because domestic violence affects the whole family, Williamson says more must be done to stop and prevent it. A member of the state's Juvenile Justice Task Force, Williamson says statistics show a growing number of students starting a life of crime as young as fourth grade.
There are mounting discipline problems in the classroom.

With newly passed legislation this year making domestic violence in front of a child a felony crime requiring automatic jail time, Williamson says Mississippi is a leader in addressing this problem.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available. The number to call is 693-HOPE.