FOX6 launches campaign highlighting domestic abuse resources

MILWAUKEE -- FOX6 News is making a commitment to educate viewers on the issue of domestic abuse and resources available for victims. That commitment includes the airing of a series of public service announcements.

Experts say domestic abuse is a problem no one talks about, but something that happens in every neighborhood.

Jodine Basterash stayed in an abusive relationship for 12 years, for her kids. In the end, she says it was one child's attempt to comfort her that finally convinced her to leave.

"I grew up without a father, and I didn't want my children growing up without a father. I just kind of got to the point where I started contemplating his death. I didn't want my girls growing up allowing (domestic abuse) t happen, and I didn't want my son to be an abuser," Basterash said.

Every year, 12,000 charges are filed in the Milwaukee County court system related to domestic abuse. 

Milwaukee's Sojourner Family Peace Center helps 29,000 victims of domestic abuse every year.

"It comes in every neighborhood, every demographic, every social class, every religious background. Eight to 10 percent of the women who are struggling ever come forward. We're always trying to prevent it from happening. I think survivors need to know help is available. You can be safe," Carmen Pitre with the Sojourner Family Peace Center said.

Signs of abuse include unexplained injuries, a person who has become isolated or anxious, a partner who is controlling, jealous, or stalking.

Some tips to help victims of domestic abuse include becoming a "safe person," not passing judgement and not talking badly about the abusive partner, being accessible and offering help, and using books and pamphlets to help explain the unhealthy relationship.

The Sojourner Family Peace Center has seen a peak in calls to their hotline. That number is 414-933-2722.

CLICK HERE for additional information via the Sojourner Family Peace Center's website.

CLICK HERE for additional resources from the city of Milwaukee's Health Department.