Women's Crisis Center offers words of support

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - After two women in northeast Arkansas were allegedly killed at the hands of a current or former husband recently, awareness of domestic violence is increasing.

Sherri Cothern of the Women's Crisis Center of Northeast Arkansas says it is important for family and friends to offer support to women who have been abused, and not to judge them.

Many women don't get help because they are embarrassed. Besides physical abuse, they also can suffer from emotional abuse.

The Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that kind of abuse comes in the form of constant verbal harassment, humiliation, food or sleep deprivation, threats, and isolation from family or friends.

Cothern says women who've been abused and remain in their homes should develop a safety plan for when they feel like they are ready to leave.

That can include everything from having a bag of emergency clothing hidden and having legal documents and paperwork in order to having someone to turn to in a violent situation and a plan for escape.

She says they should remember that there are plenty of resources to help them make it on their own, including emergency shelters.

On average, a woman will leave her abuser five to seven times before actually leaving for good.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)