OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in 10 men experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.
It's a statistic, Liliam, unfortunately, knows well. She decided to leave to get away from her abusive relationship.
"I was in a circle and I kind of realized what was going on with my life and it was a breaking point where I knew if I don't leave now, I will not be alive now," she said. "You can feel that.
When police arrived after she called 911, Lilliam was given two options.
"One option is he's leaving the house or me leaving the house," she said.
Overland Park police do not see a shortage of such incidents.
"We do get plenty of domestic calls here in Overland Park," Overland Park public information offocer, John Lacy said. "People don't want to call, and it's okay to call. We're here to help. Safehome is here to help."
Thinking of her and her family, Liliam decided to leave. That's when she got in connection with Safehome, a domestic violence shelter.
"I'm thankful with Safehome, and I'm thankful for the police because they helped me when I needed it the most," Liliam said.
Overland Park police said partnerships with shelters like Safehome are crucial.
"They're able to assist us, they're able to assist the victim also, by giving them a place to stay," Lacy said. "We get to interact with the victim, and let the victim know there is an alternative. In other words, it's a place where you and your children can go with a safe home."
Liliam hopes her journey can encourage other women who are going through what she did.
"I want to be an example for other people," Liliam said. "There is help. It really works. I arrived there with pajamas and flip flops and today I own my own company."
Safehome is one of a handful of shelters helping domestic violence victims. Its 24-7 crisis hot-line is 913-262-2868.
On its website, Safehome offers tips for victims who may be quarantining with their abuser, stating:
- Have a detailed visualization of the residence, and potential escape routes
- Avoid rooms with one door (often bedrooms and bathrooms), and rooms where weapons are kept (including the kitchen) during potential escalations
- Consider obstacles outside of home that may prevent an escape (fences, bushes, locks on gates, balcony, etc.)
- Identify a safe place to escape to on foot
- Take special note of what businesses may be open during the “Stay at Home” order to escape to in the event of an emergency and what their temporary hours are
- While neighbors may be home, they may not feel comfortable answering the door while quarantining
- Reach out to safe neighbors ahead of an emergency to discuss how they could help (i.e. call 911for you from a distance)
- Intentionally park allowing you to leave in an emergency (i.e. can’t be blocked in by another vehicle or stuck in the garage)
- Prepare an emergency bag and identify a safe place to store it
- Brainstorm reasons you may need to step outside of the house to reach out for help or support
- Take children or pets on a walk, take a walk alone for fresh air
More resources and suggestions from the Safehome can be found on its website, including information on a number of different scenarios, considerations for children, a safety plan during COVID-19 and self-care during the quarantine.