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Domestic abuse victim is the founder of prevention group

New Jersey residents may have heard about the Ohio woman who suffered domestic abuse from her husband and is now the founder of the Purple Lotus domestic violence prevention group. The 31-year-old woman, who endured the abuse for five years, said that the idea for the group was a result of the realization that domestic abuse victims needed more assistance.

The woman's ex-husband began abusing her in 2004 and did not stop until 2009, when the man pleaded guilty and served three days in jail for domestic violence as well as two counts of violation of a protection order. He was convicted of a felony violation of a protection order in 2010, the year of the couple's divorce.

The woman said that, at one time, her husband slammed her into a wall. He also hit her on the head with a laptop and knocked out one of her teeth. Once she sought help, however, she found that not everyone she reached out to could actually help her. Resources for abuse victims were limited, and so she co-founded the all-volunteer Purple Lotus group to help male and female victims of domestic abuse.

The group's assistance has so far consisted of guiding victims towards available services, escorting victims to court, finding homes for victims' pets and organizing vigils for domestic homicide victims. The group, however, has bigger plans. They will be seeking non-profit status. They also wish to open a large shelter for domestic violence victims that could house 175 women and 25 men and would include armed protection. The shelter in her area currently only has 22 beds available for victims.

Though funding for domestic violence programs has decreased nationally, these programs and shelters are a vital part of a domestic violence victim's path to safety. In New Jersey, victims can seek assistance and shelter from a variety of resources, ranging from temporary emergency services to longer-term shelters. They may also use the guidance of a lawyer to help them navigate the legal issues involved in this kind of situation.

Source: Chronicle Online, "Woman's experience with domestic violence leads her to form purple lotus", Evan Goodenow, June 10, 2013

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