Domestic violence cases up more than 100 percent in Pittsburg County
PITTSBURG COUNTY, Okla. (KTUL) —
For 40 years, Brenda had trouble seeing the beauty that surrounded her. She was blinded by ongoing verbal and physical abuse.
“The times that I did have to call law enforcement, 'oh you’re just fighting, you’ll get over it',” said Brenda.
She married the man who made her laugh and loved to dance. During the first few years, life was a honeymoon.
“I wanted to have a happy family, that’s all that mattered to me,” said Brenda. “I wanted everyone to be happy and I thought I could change him.”
The only real changes she saw were when he was drinking or off his medication.
“Two and a half years ago, he was in a drunken rage. We got into an argument, he backed me into a wall and tried to choke me. I almost blacked out,” said Brenda.
She lives in Pittsburg County where they’re investigating and prosecuting more domestic violence cases like hers. District Attorney Chuck Sullivan said many involve drugs or alcohol and strangulation.
“What is it you’re trying to do when you grab someone by the throat?” said Sullivan. “I have a hard time with the argument, I meant no harm, give me a break.”
The number of domestic violence cases in Pittsburg County has increased more than 100 percent since 2007. Over the last two years, they’ve received a grant to help prosecute domestic violence cases. The grant money is needed to help small counties keep moving forward, said Sullivan.
“There are still cases, they’re never filed, but they still happen,” said Sullivan. “A person is still a victim of domestic assault and battery whether or not a police report is ever filed or a case is ever charged against that person.”
Sullivan worries they might not be able to keep up the progress since grant money is expected to drop next year.
“It’s a significant problem in Pittsburg County. I’m probably going to say that if I file one a year, because one is too many,” said Sullivan.
“I just ran, I hid under my neighbor’s porch while on the phone with the dispatcher,” Brenda remembered.
She said her husband shot at her twice and missed. He later took his own life.
“I’m not afraid anymore. I have nobody to fear. If I cover my face, if other women are out there scared, they would say 'well, why is she covering her face?'” said Brenda.
Brenda said her job pulled her out of her depression. She now helps other women who are victims of domestic violence.
“I’m stronger since I’ve been free,” said Brenda.
It’s a strength she didn’t realize she had inside her all those years.
There are several shelters all throughout Oklahoma that help women and victims of domestic abuse. For all the information, click here.