Most people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well.
Every day thousands of women, children, and men suffer from some form of domestic violence and much of it goes unreported. This is an issue that Teach Them To Love Outreach Ministries, a non-profit in Killeen, is hoping to change.
"Physical abuse, mental abuse, and sexual abuse."
On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide and many of them are right here in Texas.
That is why Teach Them To Love Outreach Ministries was founded.
”We provide resources for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, any type of trauma like that, child abuse and substances and substance abuse," said Lolita Gilmore, Founder and Executive Director of the organization.
In Killeen and Fort Hood alone there are over 2,100 active domestic violence cases. However, the true number is much higher with only 1 in 3 cases actually being reported.
”So, when we look at this area of bell county all over," said Gilmore. "You’re talking about, every 5 seconds someone is being abused. Someone is making a phone call.”
Theresa Anderson spent over 30 years of her life in an abusive marriage, even being forced to live with the woman her husband was having an affair with while her mother and children watched in silence.
”Nobody said anything," said Anderson. "Nobody said anything. That was the biggest hurt because we’re all in the same household. It wasn’t no family outside the house, these are family members inside the house that watched it.”
Though every story and experience of domestic violence is different, survivors like Stacy Gordon that work with Teach Them To Love find comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
”It’s like I relate to her," said Gordon. "I don’t know why I’m crying. It feels good to make relationships with other people. I don’t even know her story yet but I already relate and it’s just God puts those things in your heart.”
The courageous women that shared their story with did so to let others know that they understand what they are going through and they want to help.