OKLAHOMA CITY — You may have seen purple flags flying around government agencies or maybe you’ve worn purple yourself to help raise awareness for domestic abuse.
It’s a real problem here in Oklahoma. Our state ranks at the top of the list for this type of crime.
NewsChannel 4 has details on a silent march to honor those who lost their lives as a result as well as a program to help victims survive.
Kaithlyn Elizabeth Whitten was 16-years-old. She died, after being kidnapped by her mother’s ex-boyfriend.
Their names identify cut out images of victims; pieces of cardboard that represent stories of preventable abuse.
“I actually lost a friend who was murdered in 2009,” claims one attendee.
One kidnapped another; brutally raped and shot to death; they are all victims of domestic violence; their stories; their silhouettes; silently marching at the state capitol.
But there are resources to help victims of abuse to escape before it’s too late. Because of the Internet, it’s becoming harder for victims to truly escape their abusers.
Lesley March, Assistant Attorney General, says “It’s a great problem, because due to the access to the Internet, batterers are able to locate their victims even after the victims relocate.”
So the attorney general’s office has implemented a program that allows victims to use a fake address on utilities bills to help keep their location private.
“It provides the victims with a substitute address. This prevents the abusers from locating the victims through searches of public records,” March says.
It’s the same address for all victims and then the AG’s office disperses mail to the real address.
Oklahoma ranks third in the nation for domestic violence.
Assistant AG, March, says “We want people in the general public who may not be aware of how prevalent it is to see that there’s a reason that we’re third in the nation. That’s a horrible number for a state as small as ours.”
Victims can apply through domestic violence advocates or law enforcement agencies.