Caresse Jackman

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Video: Victim Advocacy Program Provides Help For Assault Victims

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Thinking of what she’s been through remains a hard pill to swallow. This Columbus woman, who’s asked to remain anonymous, has battled sexual abuse since she was a teenager.

” When I was 15, I was sexually assaulted by someone at a party and for a really long time I didn’t tell anybody or talk about it to anyone.”

It didn’t stop there, she was also assaulted in her marriage.

“He would demand sex from me and be violent with me if I didn’t want to do that. He would pull my hair or push me down or threaten me. He would get in my face and scream, corner me against the wall.”

Even then, she blamed herself.

“I did not think it was abuse I felt like a lot of times it was what I deserved or normal behavior.”

Municipal Court Judge Nicole Clinkscales sees cases like this all the time. She wants to do more for woman who’ve been assaulted, for women who are hurting. Columbus has just agreed to a program that will help victims.

” We average about 200 to 250 violent offenses each year. We think it’s mostly women but I actually have a surprising number of men who are oftentimes victims in cases. So the purpose of this program is to give the person who is the victim in the case a source, give them an outlet,” said Judge Clinkscales.

Coordinators help victims every step of the way.

” Many times they don’t know what the legal process entails, they don’t know what options are available to them. They don’t know what resources are out there in the community to assist them and so part of ensuring that we are delivering justice fairly is to ensure that our victims are adequately represented and assisted through this process,” said Judge Clinkscales.

” That victim advocate is with that person from the time they start the process. They are with them through the investigation process, as they go through the court. As they go through the hospital process, and they support them throughout the whole process until hopefully they’re healed,” said Daisy Jones-Brown, Sexual Assault Coordinator at the Columbus Air Force Base.

For this woman, speaking out and getting help changed her life. She hopes others do the same.

“What got me through it was opening up and talking to people, receiving counseling and talking about it and learning that, you know, it wasn’t my fault and that it was happening to other people. It really helped me move past it.”

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault and domestic violence, there are several agencies you can contact. They are listed below.

Safe Haven, Inc (Columbus)

(662) 327-6118

Rape Crisis Center (Columbus)

(662) 327-6040

Contact Help Line (Columbus)

(662) 323-4357