Domestic violence victims are all around you

Updated: Jun 10

For the uninitiated, it can be overwhelming.

Day-in and day-out, hearing about the trauma inflicted on victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and murder.

But this is what the case managers at the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence do.

They listen. They offer resources, from a safe place to sleep to support on creating a new chapter in the victims’ lives.

The Center serves 2,500 to 3,000 clients each year.

For Shandrea Spinks, Nateshia Stubbs and Ashley Hall, coming into the work was an eye-opening experience.

“I know for me personally, I didn’t realize” how common that trauma is, said Client Services Manager Ashley Hall.

“You know you hear about domestic violence victims, but you don’t realize how much it goes on,” she said. “Sometimes it’s an out-of-sight, out-of-mind type of thing.”

“Now that I know, it’s like, wow. It really happens and it really happens in this city, in this state, said Stubbs.”

Statistics show that 39.7% of Mississippi women will experience intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence and or stalking. For Mississippi men that number is 31.7%, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“You could be at Wal Mart and you just never know if that person next to you is suffering with domestic violence or things of that nature,” Stubbs said.

Both Hall and Stubbs have worked for the Center for a year. Hall had previously worked with people with addiction issues.

“Just domestic violence, if you’re not in it or you don’t know any one who is suffering from it, you don’t realize how big of a population it really is,” said a Spinks, who began working at the Center as a shelter case manager and now is a housing case manager.

“There are a lot of people in our community that are impacted by domestic violence,” said Stacey Riley, CEO of the Center. “We’re providing hope for people.”

The mission of the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence is to support and serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and survivors of homicide victims, educate the community, and act to reduce incidents of violence. It is a part of Open Doors Homeless Coalition's Continuum of Care, a network of more than 50 agencies working to prevent, reduce and eliminate homelessness in South Mississippi.

“I feel like we have been given a task to make as big an impact as we possibly can in the community,” said Hall. “And just to let people that the services are here. We hear you, we see you, and Don’t be afraid to reach out.”

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