Police and preachers unite against domestic violence

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis police are partnering with preachers to show domestic violence victims a way out.

Nearly 2,000 domestic assaults were reported in the Raleigh-Frayser area in 2016. Those assaults were investigated as simple assaults and aggravated assaults: 1,500 of them were simple assaults and nearly 300 domestic aggravated assaults.

During the domestic violence symposium "When Love Hurts," hosted by Golden Gate Cathedral Church on Friday, the message was about breaking the silence of domestic violence in the church and how the community can take a stand.

"One in every 10 women that's in church everyday, every Sunday, every Wednesday is in some type of abusive relationship," Elder Donna Johnson, DV program facilitator, said.

Leaders in the faith-based community are spreading the message that congregations can do more to combat domestic violence.

"I wanted the churches to see what was going on around them," Col. James Kirkwood, Memphis police officer and preacher, said.

Domestic violence victims and their loved ones shared their stories.

Marian Williams' mother, Johnnie Alston, was killed in Tipton County in 2014 and her step-father was convicted for the murder.

"He's at the door waiting on her with a shotgun," Williams said.

Williams and others shared their stories to speak up for victims afraid to come forward.

"We're here so that you know there's no shame involved in this and this isn't your fault, no matter what your abuser tells you," Shelby County Assistant D.A. Nicole Germain said.

Gwendolyn Turner, domestic violence survivor and formerly with the Family Safety Center, said it's violence that will end once churches and the community unite.

"This can be a problem that we all can solve together," Turner said.

The Old Allen MPD precinct now has a community prosecution center where domestic violence victims can seek help and get resources 24-hours a day. It is located at 3633 Old Allen Road.

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