Domestic Violence Victim Empowered by Sharing Story

CHARLESTON- October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and this week the YWCA is celebrating a Week Without Violence. This comes as dozens of women accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. As survivors are empowered to their story online, the YWCA hosted a rally on Kanawha Blvd in Charleston, to raise awareness for the cause.

1 in 4 women, and 1 in 5 men in West Virginia are victims of domestic violence. But Wednesday, survivors and supporters are sharing a message of hope. Where domestic violence victims often suffer in silence, today they were anything but quiet. 

"We just want to bring awareness and let those folks that are still in the fight, know about the work that we do and we're out there for them," Resolve Director Julie Haden told 13 News. 

This as millions of women and men are posting the hashtag "MeToo" on social media, coming out of the shadows to let the world know they've been sexually harassed or assaulted. The public display can often be intimidating for victims, like Martha, who first shared her story of domestic violence with 13 News in August. But for Martha, getting her story out in the open has been incredibly rewarding.

"I was quiet, I was embarrassed and I was ashamed, and everything got swept under the rug. But I think woman, or just individuals, are getting more empowered and knowing that this is not right, it's not a good thing," Martha explained.

After seeing Martha's story, a woman in an abusive situation reached out to her for help, and that has inspired her to keep speaking.


"It's scary first of all, but it's empowering, and knowing now that there's that one person that I can help. That's even more empowering," Martha added.

Martha continues to encourage victims still suffering to reach out to the YWCA for help.

"There's hope and there's light and people are waiting to hear from you if you need it, whenever you need it," Martha told 13 News.

Just before the demonstration this afternoon, the YWCA also honored Lt. Eric Drennan of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department. Drennan works in teh warrants division arresting 600 domestic battery suspects over his career.

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