Most domestic violence goes unreported, says Douglas County Sheriff

DOUGLAS COUNTY – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 36% of women and 30% of men experience domestic violence. Most cases of domestic violence go unreported to the police.

Denae Loban is a survivor of domestic violence, although throughout her 13-year marriage she didn’t realize she was being abused.

“There was a lot of emotional abuse and manipulation. Isolated from my family, I couldn’t see my family. He watched me even when he was out of town. It must have had tracking software on my phone. He was really hard on me when I ate. One thing comes to mind, he said to me one evening, ‘If you’re going to ride 10 miles on the stationary bike, we can go out to dinner.’ She said. “It always depressed me or made me feel bad about myself and who I was. It was emotional abuse, but because of my childhood, I didn’t know that was what it was. In 2019, I brought it to the advisor’s attention. I kind of went over what happened. She said, ‘You know, there’s a name for that. It is domestic violence and abuse. I was speechless. I didn’t even know it could be considered that way. I was not aware of what was going on. I was in the dark until I spoke to my advisor.

But she continued to stay in the abusive relationship.

“I was in the situation where I left and came back. There was a honeymoon phase. He was fine for a week or two, and then he was off again. He said: ‘I’m going to change, I’m going to go for a consultation.’ But it didn’t stick. I returned. It was hard. I wanted that security, to have someone there, not to have to be alone financially or to be with all the time, ”Loban said.

But in January 2020, her ex-husband now physically assaulted her. She said she didn’t get up quickly enough when their dog started barking that morning.

“He was crazy. He got up, put his elbow on the temple of my head, put his full weight on it and used it to get off the couch. I went to my advisor, who suggested. to have me checked in the hospital. I explained what happened. I could see the nurse writing “assault” on the recording paper. It was shocking to me that this really happened. J was then. I was finally ready. It was like my exit. My way of saying, ‘I’m done with this relationship. I’m done with the abuse. I can get out now Loban said.

Loban is far from alone in her experience.

“On average, seven times is what it takes for a victim of domestic violence to finally truly leave the relationship,” said Julie McKinster, victim attorney at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reports 661 cases of domestic violence in 2020. To date in 2021, it has responded to 560 cases of domestic violence.

“Sometimes when victims call 911, they don’t realize they are in a situation of domestic violence. Most often, they do not realize the emotional abuse. Manipulation, isolation from friends and family, control over money, don’t trust you with your phone. Verbal abuse, shame, bodily shame, physical shame. Anything they can to take you away from your identity and your support systems, ”McKinster said.

“I am very, very proud of Denae. It took a lot of steps and forces for her to truly accept that she’s been in an abusive relationship for a very long time. It took her to a physical point for her to do anything about it. Get that support and that education and she realizes it for herself. We don’t impose it on anyone. She came to this conclusion on her own, using the resources we provided for her, ”McKinster said.

Stress relief for both women is available.

“We provide security planning. Steps 1-500 on how to start planning and preparing for this to keep yourself safe. It’s not like you just pack a bag and go. It is not that easy and it takes a lot. People just know they have a place to call and start, ask questions, get educated, what route they can take. There are so many community organizations out there if you don’t want to go the law enforcement route, there are tons and tons of resources that can help you, ”McKinster said.

Denae got through it – and stayed strong – with the help of her Victims’ Rights Advocate. She is now in a new relationship and wants to help other victims of domestic violence.

“I want to be that person who can help another person go through this with them, walk by their side and say, ‘It’s okay, you can do it. You have this, ”Loban said.

If you are in crisis, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or

Douglas County Sheriff:

Crisis center 24 hour crisis line: 303-688-8484

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