Project Celebration Community Education and Outreach Director Petrina Jenkins says a husband or boyfriend has physically abused one out of every four women at some point in their lives, and Louisiana is no exception.
“This year alone, Louisiana ranks right now, we’re number four. Last year we were number five.”
Angie Anders became one of the latest victims of domestic violence in Shreveport last Friday. The 47-year-old was found suffering from a fatal gunshot wound in her car in Shreveport’s South Highlands neighborhood. Her boyfriend, 58-year-old William Cherry, was found dead of an apparent self-conflicted gunshot wound hours after he barricaded himself inside his home on the same street.
On Easter Sunday, 16-year-old Shakyra Gray was shot and killed at a home in the 100 block of East Gregg Street in Shreveport. Her boyfriend, 19-year-old Treylin Dillard, is charged with second-degree murder.
Another 19-year-old, Anthony Marshall, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with violating a protective order and illegal weapons possession after police were called to a business on N. Market Street for a report of a disturbance and learned Marshall had allegedly pulled out a gun and verbally threatened to kill the victim. Police found a rifle in his vehicle. He was later charged in connection with a drive-by shooting in Cherokee Park last summer that wounded a 16-year-old.
Three domestic violence incidents involving guns in five days, all in Shreveport.
“Unfortunately, as well, Caddo Parish is leading those numbers. It happens more so often than what you think,” said Petrina Jenkins. “There’s so many obstacles that a woman that’s trying to leave an abusive relationship has to overcome.”
But Jenkins says women are not the only victims of abuse.
“Men can absolutely be victims of domestic violence, and we do service them, as well.”
According to Jenkins, when in abusive relationships, no matter if it’s emotional or physical, it’s important to seek help.
“Protective orders absolutely work, but they have to be combined with safety planning. So, when you get your protective order, if you feel like you need one, make sure that you also have safety planning with that protection.”
Project Celebration Inc. offers counseling and safety exit plans. But Jenkins says leaving is a process, and everyone’s strategy will be different.
“Maybe changing your route to work, maybe even getting your hours changed at work. Sometimes it requires taking a leave from work, changing daycares for your children.”
If you are a victim of abuse or know someone dealing with abuse, you can call the confidential hotline at 1-888-411-1333.
You can also visit the Project Celebration Facebook page.