Roanoke, Va. (WFXR) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness month; as this month comes to a close the unfortunate reality is that domestic violence will not. Twenty-four people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. On average, more than one in three women and one in four men in the United States will experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.
Victims of domestic violence can feel isolated, alone, or experience feelings and behaviors that significantly impact one’s mental stability. The National Domestic Violence Hotline does not recommend counseling for domestic abuse, as it is not a relationship problem but an unequal power structure that cannot be fixed. It is for this reason that leaving a relationship altogether is often the answer to regaining normalcy in one’s life.
Leaving is what Jovail Coleman had to do.
Jovail Coleman suffered a brain injury from a car accident in 2015, she says this led to an initial inability to recognize emotional and verbal abuse. Jovail recounts the words said by her husband of fifteen years.
“He’d say things like, ‘you know you’ll never find anyone like me.’ When I had memory issues and would ask questions everything was blamed on me, everything from the children not being dressed or not being in bed, whether they were fed or overfed… it was anything that was going on in the home, always blamed on me. It was like I was walking on eggshells. I was afraid of what to say, what not to say, afraid to live or move.”Jovail Coleman, Domestic Abuse Survivor
Jovail says manipulation led to distancing from friends and excessive monitoring.
“It was tracking on my phone to track where I’ve been, there were video cameras in the house to record me when he wasn’t there.”Jovail Coleman, Domestic Abuse Survivor
Jovail says the relationship then began to get physical through a series of isolated moments. Police being called and her husband projecting blame calling her “bipolar”, finding out her son had been hit as well after being called into the school. At that point, October 2015, Jovail looked at Salvation Army’s Turning Point Shelter… but she didn’t go through with it.
Then, a final straw. Jovail sought time with friends but due to being afraid of how her husband would react, she chose not to return home or return phone calls. Eventually, she did come home and was met with a reaction that haunts her.
“He was very angry with me and a text message came over my phone from him even though he was in the next room, basically saying we had never had angry sex before. I ignored the message because it didn’t make any sense to me. Then, he proceeded to come into the room and force himself on me.”Jovail Coleman, Domestic Abuse Survivor
Jovails brain injury causes her to shut down during traumatic situations.
“No sound came out, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t scream even though in my mind that’s what I was doing.”Jovail Coleman, Domestic Abuse Survivor
A hospital visit, a rape kit is what it took to recognize the blurred line between love and control.
This is merely a glimpse of Jovail’s domestic violence story. Luckily, Jovail was able to get through these traumatic experiences through the help of Salvation Army’s Turning Point.
“In March when he forced himself on me, I knew I had to go.”Jovail Coleman, Domestic Abuse Survivor
In March of 2016 Jovail and her children found themselves at Salvation Army’s Turning Point. It started with a phone call of support and reassurance. She quickly left her home with what she could carry.
Salvation Army’s Captain Jamie Clay says that when someone turns to Turning Point they take them through a quick interview process and assess their needs.
“We make sure they have all the basics from shampoos, conditioners, whatever clothing if needed because many of them when they leave their place they no longer have that. We’ll give them a hot meal, they’ll have a bed, they have a safe environment to live in.”Captain Jamie Clay, Roanoke Salvation Army, Turning Point
Jovail says Turning Point went above and beyond.
“They even had toys for my kids to play with and for me that was big because I just wanted them to still be able to be kids, coming to Turning Point really did save my life.”Jovail Coleman, Domestic Abuse Survivor
Turning Point helps parents keep their children on track educationally and daily programs are provided for kids and adults.
Some of the programs that they are invited to attend, it’s their choice, are parenting programs throughout the week or they can attend a substance abuse trauma group during the evenings. While they’re in an adult group for trauma their children are actually involved in a program as well; everything from speaking in positivity to them, crafts, games just to be able to let them have fun and to play together.”Captain Jamie Clay, Roanoke Salvation Army, Turning Point
Once those that seek Turning Point for refuge leave the facility they can then utilize the Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope Program, which helps to break the cycle of generational crisis and vulnerability.
Salvation Army’s programs help those experiencing domestic violence take that next step of safety and give them the opportunity for a better life. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, there are resources available. The Salvation Army hotline is available 24/7 at 540-345-0400.