MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A survivor of domestic violence has been helping other victims find freedom and healing since 2015.
“I endured a lot of physical violence, even to where at one time I received a broken, cracked nose," Marqulepta Odom, the executive director of the Memphis YWCA, said. "As well as in my right eye the pupil is a little damage where its separated; for driving and at night I have to wear glasses and things of that nature."
Odom is not alone, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In a year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men or 1 in every 4 women and 1 in 7 men.
When it comes to leaving these violent situations, Odam said it's often easier said than done.
“They could minimize the abuse. You know, they are often told if you leave, ‘no one wants you.' I was told that." Odom said. "Oftentimes, that person is the one who provides all the financial care, whatever is needed for the family; the head of the household is the one that’s actually doing it. So, if you’re just there and you have no control over your finances or what you eat, what you do then it’s hard to get out of a situation like that.”
After five years, Odom found that her strength to leave her situation came from her choice to love herself.
“First of all, you have to always love yourself because when we don’t have that self-love, that is the open door where someone can actually come in and be able to manipulate and control you because they see the hurt, the pain and the low self-esteem," she said.
Odom warns that finding the strnegh to leave is only the first step, victims should then safely plan.
“That is a time that you could possibly become a fatality or injured so you in many cases you have to prepare and plan to leave," Odom said. "Speaking to someone about safety, talking to, the hotline. Make copies of your documents; there’s a lot of things that is a major factor when leaving.”