TULSA, Okla. — Domestic violence affects thousands of people every year in Tulsa County alone. Victims in rural communities might not know where to turn if it becomes reality, but help is still all around them.
Karen Lewis, who is a court advocate with Women in Safe Home (WISH) in Muskogee, says protective orders won't protect a victim's life, especially right after it's filed.
"The most important thing to remember is that protection order is just a piece of paper," Lewis said. "The first 24 to 48 hours after separation is the most dangerous for a victim."
WISH provides a safe haven for victims to go during that time.
"If they go back home or go to a relative's home, they're easily located," Lewis said.
Last year, WISH helped more than 400 women in Muskogee County alone, but they say that's still less than half the number of cases in the county.
In Tulsa County, organizations like Domestic Violence Intervention Services help more than 3,500 victims every year. They say it all starts with speaking up.
"We work with what the client is able and willing to do. It has to be a choice the client makes, it has to be a time that they are ready and it has to be done in a manner that's safe," said Legal Services Vice President Megan Martin.
For those who may not know where to turn, there are resources all around and people to help locate them. Lewis says the easiest and safest route in those cases is calling the Oklahoma Safeline at 1-800-522-SAFE (7233).
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