39 Years Of Service: Women’s Resource Center Leader Fights Against Domestic Violence In Okla.

Creating a safe haven: Addressing the ongoing issue of domestic violence in Oklahoma

Monday, September 25th 2023, 9:26 pm

By: News 9


Oklahoma is the worst in the country for domestic violence, according to the YWCA.  The leader of the Women’s Resource Center in Cleveland County has spent nearly four decades helping women in abusive relationships. She said Oklahoma must take steps to make sure women can get the help they need. 

Domestic violence haunts Oklahoma communities. Kristy Stewart has fought for women of domestic violence for 39 years.  “I believe so strongly that they have a right to live without violence in their lives,” said Stewart, who is the executive director of the Women’s Resource Center in Norman. 

In August, Deputy Jordan Pyle’s death produced a message from Sheriff Chris Amason.  “Her loss will be felt for a very, very long time,” said Amason during a news conference shortly after Pyle’s death. “To be honest, I’m pissed off. I’m mad at him for taking her life.”  

Pyle’s husband and former deputy with the sheriff’s office faces first-degree murder.  “Domestic violence crosses all professions,” Amason said. 

Amason credited the work happening in Stewart’s office and the need for communities to talk about these issues.  “If anything positive can come from this tragedy it would be that,” Amason said. 

Stewart said tragedies can offer an opportunity for reflection.  “Not looking at the whole picture and just looking at one piece of the puzzle is where we all go wrong, I think,” Stewart said. 

Stewart has questions.  “How many more women have to die before we really start talking about changes in this state?” she said. 

She said victim protective orders in Oklahoma often stall while court cases play out.  “In the amount of time that it takes to finally hold the offender accountable, she may be victimized again,” Stewart said. 

She said awareness is everything.  “Take a look at our community as a whole,” Stewart said. “How are we operating as a community?”  

Oklahoma’s haunting reality of domestic violence -- in Stewart’s eyes -- cannot be exorcised by one person.  “It takes the entire community to make a difference,” Stewart said. 

The Women’s Resource Center offers a variety of resources to women in need.  

What are some resources for Domestic Violence victims in Oklahoma? 

The Oklahoma Domestic Violence hotline, (800) 522-SAFE (7233), and the 24-hour Safeline 1-800-522-SAFE (7233), provide assistance with safety planning, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and advocacy to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking. The Abuse Hotline 1-800-522-3511 and the Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-522-3511 also provide resources for escaping abusive situations. 

For the full list of Oklahoma Domestic Violence resources, click here. 

What are some National resources for Domestic Violence? 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233 and the National Dating Abuse Helpline (866) 331-9474 for those in abusive situations or relationships. The Rape Abuse Incest National Network (800) 656-4673 also helps in cases of rape or incest. 

The StrongHearts Native Helpline (844) 762-8483 helps culturally-specific helpline for Native Americans impacted by domestic, dating and sexual violence. 

The National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp (800) 422-4453 is for any child who is being abused or neglected. The National Center for Elder Abuse 1-855-500-3537 will help with elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. 

For the full list of National Domestic Violence resources, click here. 

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