Domestic Violence in Billings - | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Domestic Violence in Billings

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An international study revealed one third of women suffer as a result of domestic violence. The study also indicates those victims have the biggest risk of being murdered by their partner.

"The biggest problem with domestic violence is that is does remain silent and that's how the abuser is able to keep control of that victim," says Jamie Rindahl, who was once a domestic abuse victim.

After finding the strength to speak up, Rindahl is now President and Founder of DVAAS, Domestic Violence Abuse Awareness Society.

"I think that's what people are afraid of, is that stigma that is surrounding it if you have a mental illness or if you have a domestic violence case, whatever. People don't want to talk about it because they're embarrassed," says Rindahl.

That's reportedly one reason abusers continue to have power over a victim. But as a society, experts say it's important to reach out to those who are secretly screaming for your help.

"It's really important that friends and family and let them know they're willing to help. The victims need to hear, I'm here for you, I'm willing to help, when you're ready. And not try to force change," says Erin Lambert, Domestic and Sexual Violence Victim Services Program Manager for YWCA.

Rindahl says "having the self respect, and the respect to others to be able go say anything." Because what goes on behind closed doors may surprise us, especially in rural communities. "Reaching out for help just is that much more difficult because they don't have the resources available to bigger cities."

"This is a problem that occurs in our community just as much as anywhere else... Some of the things we really love about being a rural state... actually increases the instances of domestic violence," says Lambert.

The YWCA is just one organization to reach out to. The agency helps nearly 700 women a year who suffer from domestic abuse.

"We really want people to escape these relationships safely. Our bottom line is keeping individuals in our community safe and to avoid loss of life," says Lambert.

While many may be afraid to speak up and reach out for help, the YWCA will protect confidentiality and goes above and beyond to keep everyone safe. Domestic violence is not just something that happens to women. Men and children can be victims as well. Help is a phone call away. The YWCA has a 24-hour crisis hotline. Call (406)259-8100.