Getting out: The struggles of domestic violence

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GRAND RAPIDS Mich. — Victims of domestic violence often blame themselves for a violent domestic relationship. Grand Rapids psychologist Julia de Jonge told FOX 17 that the victim is not to blame at all.

"It is not their fault no matter, what has happened," said de Jonge. "You ought not to hit somebody or emotional and physically manipulate somebody when you are upset, and that is never ever a victim’s fault."

There were quite a few cases in West Michigan over the past week and a half that all shared domestic violence as a common theme. You may remember the story of Lori Vargas, the mother of two, found dead in a burned car following an argument with her boyfriend. Police said the boyfriend admitted to killing her.

In another case, Cedar Springs native Becky Sisk was murdered by her husband in Oklahoma.

Both of these cases raise questions such as, Why didn't they just walk away?

Psychologist de Jonge said there's no easy answer when it comes to tackling the underlying issues of domestic violence cases.

"[Victims feel] stuck, isolated, ashamed. They have a lot of fears of the reactions of family members."

"Women have a lot of fear that they will get hurt or their children will get hurt," de Jonge added, "that they will get killed or threatened, or that the violence will worsen that the person will pursue them and it will get worse. "

It’s important to note some of these cases are still going through the litigation process in court, but the information we have gathered from loved ones and police categorize these as domestic abuse cases or are being investigated as such.

If you need help or know someone struggling with domestic violence, the YWCA has some resources available.

You can also find more information Safe Haven Ministries  and Dawn for Women.

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