Help for Victims Exists

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Leaving her husband was the hardest thing Beth Hisaw ever had to do. Standing up in public and telling others about it is the second hardest.

Hisaw says she spent almost 50 years in an abusive marriage. She says there were some good times, but that didn't make up for the bad times. She was scared to stay, but also scared to leave.

"It just got to the point there was no hope, that I couldn't. I tried to get out, but I wasn't strong enough," Hisaw told a group attending a luncheon at St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

But leave she finally did, for good, a year ago this month. She went to the Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter, where she began the process of putting her life back together.

Hisaw is among the millions of Americans who have been the victim of crime in their lifetimes. It's a traumatic experience, and many people don't know where to go for help.

That's why this is National Crime Victims' Rights Week, a chance to get the word out that help is available.

And like Hisaw, victims' advocates say most people have no idea how strong they are until they decide to look for that help.

"Many times they have been not just physically beaten, but emotionally beaten," said Janie Brown of Care Lodge. "And you see that so much. They feel weak and helpless until they have someone there, holding their hand and leading the way."

Beth has a new life now, one she says she wouldn't have had without a lot of help. It's a new life that she thanks God for every day.

"I decided to do something for me, and that was to try to live a peaceful life for a change," Hisaw said.

And that's something she says she has now.

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