JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Fourteen homicides last year in Duval County were domestic violence-related and more than half of them were committed by people in intimate relationships.
These are findings presented Friday in the 2020 domestic violence fatality report by city and state leaders and the Hubbard House. They held a virtual press conference.
To Kimberly, a domestic violence survivor who describes herself as always smiling and extroverted, these aren't just numbers. They're the people you might not expect.
"How does someone like me end up a victim?" Kimberly asked.
More than a decade of Kimberly's life was spent in three abusive relationships.
"I decided that I just wasn't gonna keep doing it," she said. "Even if it's not for me, my kids deserve so much more."
The state attorney's office finds most offenders are men, there's usually a firearm involved, and there's usually a history of substance abuse. Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail Patin says there needs to be accountability in following up with offenders.
"It's really important, as was said in the press conference by the state attorney's office, that people get ordered into these batterers intervention programs and that they follow up with it and are held accountable for completing it," she said. "Because 68% of batterers who complete don't reoffend after eight years."
Patin says survivors should call or text them, and others can help survivors in ways that may seem small, but aren't. Two big ways to help are listening and believing the victim.
"Try not to say, 'oh that's hard to believe,'" Patin said. "Because that might be your natural reaction as a person if we know that other person who now we're being told is an abuser, but what that says to the victim is, 'oh they were right, nobody is going to believe me.' And it might shut them down. Or don't say, 'why don't you leave?' Because that's kind of putting the responsibility on them. The question really is 'why is that person abusing?'"
The Domestic Violence Awareness Month hashtag is #survivorsspeaktruth. Patin encourages you to use the hashtag, share information from Hubbard House social media accounts, ask someone from Hubbard House to speak with your organization and share their hotline and textline numbers.
Hubbard House's 24/7 hotline is 904-354-3114 and 24/7 textline is 904-210-3698.
You can join the Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast Tuesday. Learn more about that and another event at the end of the month here.