Memphis lights up bridge to recognize victims of domestic violence

Memphis lights up bridge to recognize victims of domestic violence

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Harahan Bridge over the Mississippi River was lit up in purple Wednesday night in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

People gathered to see the Big River Cross Bridge light up in purple to remember victims and survivors.

It's a crisis that's already claimed the life of one Mid-South woman this week.

One local organization is doing their part to help survivors escape.

"I am a survivor of eight years,” said domestic violence survivor Deborah Robinson. “To get my story out. Let everybody know we do survive, and we do live on. This can happen to anybody, anywhere, any time."

Robinson survived severe physical abuse at the hands of her husband.

“I finally left,” Robinson said. “Statistics show 7 to 12 times before you leave this. It took me 9 years to leave.”

She is now working with the family safety center, an organization that helps people in domestic abuse situations.

The Harahan Bridge lit in purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (Source: WMC Action News 5)
The Harahan Bridge lit in purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (Source: WMC Action News 5) (WMC Action News 5)

The Family Safety Center has multiple agencies under one roof, making it a kind of one-stop shopping for abuse victims looking for help to get out.

Major J.D. Smith, the head of the domestic violence unit with the Memphis Police Department, said domestic violence is a major problem in the U.S., especially in Memphis.

“What we see often times is that the victim will return back to the offender multiple times,” Major Smith said.

The murder of Amanda Petrowski on Sunday is on the minds of these people.

“Today we remember the young victims who are no longer with us, like the young mom who was killed by her children’s father this past Sunday,” said Olliette Murray, Executive Director of Drobot Family Safety Center.

The father of Petrowski’s two children, Santrez Traylor, is accused of hitting her in the head with a brick several times before running over her over and over.

“2018 Memphis, we had 12,000 cases that we are looking at so far,” said MPD Deputy Director Mike Ryall. “Of all of our homicides this year 2018 six percent were domestic violence.”

Memphis police, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the DA’s office work with the Family Safety Center.

For more information on the Family Safety Center, visit their website.

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