MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and the Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish and The Monroe Wellspring held the annual "Hope in the Light of Day" event this morning in downtown Monroe to raise awareness on the issue.
Ashley Hill, an employee of The Wellspring and victim of domestic violence, spoke of her past at the event in the hopes of helping others.
"Usually, I can't tell my story because I'm crying... but now I think I'm comfortable with it, and I could speak to others about it to prevent it from happening to them," Hill says.
Hill is a seven year survivor of domestic violence and says her experience started at a young age.
"I met him in high school. We dated from ninth grade on through. I was attached to him," says Hill.
Hill spoke out to high schools students at today's event, because she knows what its like to be young and naive.
"Junior high and high school is when you find your first love. My abuser was my first love," Hill says.
Hill, and city officials, are focused on keeping young people aware of the signs of domestic violence.
Head of the Domestic Violence Division of Louisiana's 4th Judicial Court, Jennifer Johnson, says the cases she sees regard people of all ages.
"With young people, they need to understand that domestic violence can occur at any time in their life," Johnson says. "If you feel isolated from your family or friends, there are professional centers like The Wellspring and the Family Justice Center, someone that you can go talk to that's a third party."
If you or someone you know needs help from the Family Justice Center or The Wellspring, visit our related links section.