The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says 18 murders in Duval County last year were the result of domestic violence. Undersheriff Pat Ivey says he’s afraid Jacksonville is on the same track this year.
Advocates came together Thursday to send a message to victims: Speak up about abuse.
Kimyetta Taylor was in an abusive relationship for 10 years. She read one of her poems at the sheriff’s office Thursday. It’s titled “Gone.”
Undersheriff Ivey says Taylor’s situation is all too common.
“As of last Tuesday, Sept. 22, there have been 4,383 reported incidents of domestic violence in Duval County this year,” Ivey said.
Ivey says JSO teams up with other agencies to provide help for those victims. He said last year only 16 percent of those identified as needing help accepted services.
Theresa Simak with the Florida state attorney’s office says eight of last year’s victims were women killed by a male romantic partner.
She also said most of the couples were separated at the time of the murder, and only a quarter of the suspects had prior arrests.
“Sadly and unfortunately,” Simak said, “it seems that it is only after the domestic violence homicide that friends, coworkers and family members report to investigators that they had concerns about that relationship prior to the homicide.”
Gail Patin with Hubbard House says it’s important to speak up. She says her organization can offer victims protection.
“You plan how to leave safely and plan where you can be safely,” Patin said.
Kimyetta Taylor says it’s been just under five years since she escaped her abusive relationship, and she has a message for others who are still in one.
“You’re not alone, and don’t feel like you’re stupid because you’re in this situation,“ Taylor said. “You have to get out of that situation because if you don’t, it can lead to your death, and not only the death of your physical body, but your spiritual body, because I was losing myself.”