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      Escaping domestic abuse

      Domestic abuse is a major problem in Northwest Ohio. A reported one in every four women will experience domestic abuse in the lifetime.

      WNWO spoke to a woman,who we'll refer to as "Jane" to protect her indentity. She is currently living in a safe house because she is the victim of domestic abuse.

      "I was very fearful for my life. I thought that he would kill me," says "Jane"

      She was involved in an abusive relationship for years, and said at one point, she did try to leave.

      Jane recalls, "He stood in front of the door and would not allow me to leave. He had his gun. He wouldn't let me leave.

      But it's important for victims to knwo that there is help. Michelle Clossick runs the Cocoon Shelter, which covers wood county. She says the leading factor for homicide in Wood County is domestic violence.

      "There have been 13 homicides in our county in the last decade. 20 motherless children in our community. And now there is a dead child due to homicide," explains Clossick, referencing the Lake Township shootings.

      Abusers are masters of manipulation, and often the abuse may go un-noticed by friends and family. Jane saw this first hand.

      "Other people didn't believe anything was going on. My family didn't see it," she says.

      And there are often indicators that surface long before the relationship turns abusive.

      "They're very jealous. They are always checking through your stuff. They want to know who your talking to, where your going all the time," explains Jane

      However Jane has made the first, and most difficult step. But she reminds women that the most dangerour time is when you leave. So when you do, make sure you have made up a plan, with the help of abuse professionals.

      "Don't tell anyone where you are going. See professional help," she warns.

      Now she has begun the challenging road of rebuilding her life, free of violence, towards a future where she no longer has to live in fear.

      She says, "I just feel free. I'm able to do things without walking on eggshells. I don't have to look over my back in fear."

      Statistics show that an overwhelming number of domestic violence cases involve children. And often it's the innocent child can be the most tragic victim of all.

      Cocoon Shelter Link

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