Ed Murray, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma continues to lose ground in the fight against domestic violence. Last month, the state fell from 15th to 11th in the nation for the number of women killed by men.
Experts say domestic violence is on a generation to generation cycle and will continue to be if we all don't do our part to break the cycle.
Deb Stanaland is in a wonderful, happy marriage now. She has been for 15 years, but her adult life didn't start that way.
"When I grew up and got married the first time, the violence started the first week of the marriage," Stanaland said.
As a child, Stanaland grew up with domestic violence in her home and accepted it as an inevitable part of relationships.
"I was married to a minister, and so I did not have anywhere to go. And I believed in the Bible. I had a very traditional way of thinking and continued to believe that if I would do what was right, that somehow, things would get better."
But they didn't...
"Until I realized that God doesn't expect us to live that way… and it's okay to be safe."
But that took Stanaland 18 1/2 years to realize.
"It's a big secret that you keep. We don't want people to know what's going on in our homes. We want to keep the face that everything's good, everything's fine," she said.
Stanaland didn't realize there was help and hope at places like the YWCA.
"You want to go to someone who is trained and understands the safety risks," said Jan Peery, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma City YWCA. "These can be very dangerous, very lethal situations, not only for the victim, but for anyone else who may get involved."
Peery said the Y helps with everything from emergency housing to support groups and, what Stanaland calls the most important thing, a safety plan...
"We can't make guarantees, of course, but we can help them move forward with a plan so that when they leave, they can stay gone and stay safe as possible," Peery said.
Stanaland said the breakthrough for her was the concern and support from her children and co-workers. They didn't probe, but let Stanaland know they were there for her when she was ready.