MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Studies show Louisiana ranks second in the country when it comes to domestic violence, but an organization here is trying to fix the problem. The Wellspring is speaking out during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The Wellspring says it wants people to understand what domestic violence is, the many forms it takes, and how victims can find safety.
They say domestic violence can start with things like threats, control, harsh words, or losing their temper. The Wellspring says it's important to notice these dangerous signs because things can get worse quickly.
Outreach and prevention coordinator, Jeslyn Lewis says it’s important for people to know that men and women can be victims because domestic abuse can take many different forms.
"It’s not just physical,” Lewis explains. “It is verbal, it is mental, it is psychological, it is sexual. So the gamut is so widespread.”
Lewis says she wants victims to know that they're not alone because The Wellspring and law enforcement are there to help.
They say the main problem though, is that victims often don't speak up.
"It just depends. Every case is different. Definitely fear plays a major role in it - fear of being killed or fear of being injured severely," she says.
Sylvester Taylor says he's never experienced abuse himself, but says it's an issue that still affects him to this day.
"My parents were murdered in a domestic violence situation and also in that same incident my sister was badly beaten and shot multiple times," says Taylor. "But she survived."
Taylor says if you see abuse happening or see signs in your own relationships, you should reach out to someone and say something.
Lewis says The Wellspring has a 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence. If you're in an abusive relationship, you can call 318-323-1505 at any time for help.