HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi ranked fifth in the country in the rate of women murdered by men, according to the latest Violence Policy Center report.
Over the last two decades, the national rate has dropped 26% but is still alarmingly high.
"We get a lot of calls through dispatch of domestic violence," said Lt. Latosha Myers-Mitchell of the Hattiesburg Police Department. "I would say approximately four or five a day."
Abuse often begins with isolation as the offender attempts to assert dominance and control. Take it as an early warning sign if your partner becomes overbearing or begins to carefully monitor or restrict your phone calls or time away from them.
"Violence is never okay, in any shape, form, or fashion," said Lt. Myers-Mitchell. "It's not a form of 'I love you,' or 'I'm protecting you.' It's a sign that there's something wrong."
Studies found that 93% of female victims knew their attackers. 62% were or had been in a romantic relationship with the offender.
"You might think there's a certain profile, but there isn't," said Marilyn Howell, clinical coordinator of the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter. "Domestic violence can happen to many, many people and the best thing to do is recognize it early if it's happening and to get out."
If you know someone in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, offer them support and help them consider their options in getting out. One resource is the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter, with facilities in Laurel and Hattiesburg. Call 1-800-649-1092.