The Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma offers free help to anyone experiencing domestic violence

Carter County Courthouse (KXII)
Carter County Courthouse (KXII)(KXII)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - At the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma, director Kathy Manning said their shelter, services and 24 hour crisis line are totally anonymous.

Manning said in Oklahoma, there is a shelter nearby no matter where you live. If it’s an hour away, she said they can help with transportation.

You don’t have to give your name, or your abuser’s name.

And when it comes to seeking justice-The Family Shelter will follow your lead.

“We work to empower victims. Just because you reach out to the crisis line, doesn’t mean that you have to take any steps that you’re unwilling to take at that point,” Manning said. “We go at your pace,”

Manning said that first step is usually to make a safety plan, because leaving an abuser is dangerous for victims.

“We do individualized safety plans for everyone, because everyone’s situation is different,” Manning said.

“A lot of times when a victim decides they’ve had enough, then an abuser understands ‘Hey, I’m now losing this person,’ then that can revoke a very raw response of violence,” Johnston County Sheriff Gary Dodd said. “I’ve even heard suspects who’ve committed domestic violence say ‘Well, you know if I couldn’t have that person, then nobody can have that person.’ They become almost like a piece of property to the suspect.”

Dodd said sometimes abusers will see law enforcement as taking the victim away from them, and that can cause them to react violently towards law enforcement too.

According to FBI data, domestic violence calls are the most deadly for officers.

“A suspect-if you will, they have a home court advantage,” Dodd said. “They know their home better than we do. They know whether or not they are armed, we don’t. So most of the time we are reacting to them and their level of force.”

Manning said a victim knows how violent an abuser can become.

“That’s something that we hear all the time,” Manning said. “‘Well why didn’t they just leave?’ That is just very traumatizing to all involved and especially if you knew the dynamics that went into why someone chooses to stay. And sometimes they choose to stay in order to save their lives and the lives of their children. Because no one knows the abuser more than that victim.”

“It doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to doesn’t matter race, socioeconomic status, gender,” victim advocate Stacey Rose said.

Rose said instead, it’s far more helpful to listen and believe someone who tells you they’re being abused.

“Being that support and letting them know it’s not their fault. A lot of active listening,” Rose said. “Recognizing that when you give this person advice they may not follow it. Teaching that person some safety tips.-It does come back to that safety plan. 75% of the homicides occur when the victim has said ‘I’m leaving,’ so teaching that individual how to safety plan is so important.”

Manning said the Family Shelter has resources for anyone experiencing domestic violence-and it’s free for anyone who needs it.

If you’re experiencing domestic violence, get somewhere safe and call the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma at (580- 226- 6424), the Chickasaw Nation Violence Prevention Services at (580- 272-5580) or the Grayson Crisis Center at (903-893-5615). You can also call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

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