Haywood Co. leaders proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. — Law enforcement and civic leaders in one county come together to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Mary Adkerson recalls a terrifying day when she says her ex-boyfriend physically assaulted her in front of her children.

“I got to experience the most worst case scenario, which is death,” Adkerson said. “He had every intention of killing me that day. It was by the grace of God that I survived.”

Adkerson, now a domestic abuse advocate, says the attack caused her to suffer severe injuries to her nose and face.

That’s when she says she turned to Wo/Men’s Resource and Rape Assistance, or WRAP, for help. The program is a domestic abuse treatment center serving West Tennessee.

“Without them I couldn’t stand up here today,” Adkerson said. “I couldn’t speak out more for other victims to have a voice.”

Adkerson shared her story Monday at Brownsville City Hall as law enforcement and elected leaders gathered along with WRAP members to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“We have a very high rate of domestic violence in Haywood County, and we want to change that,” Brownsville Mayor Bill Rawls said.

Rawls says the county recently hired an officer solely committed to following up on domestic abuse cases.

“We’ve seen a rise in the number of cases reported because people feel more comfortable,” Rawls said.

For survivors such as Adkerson, she says she’s using her experience to speak up for survivors who might be hurting, letting them know they are not alone.

“We have your back,” Rawls said. “Speak up, because we want to hear you, and we want to help you.”

Mayor Rawls says the city of Brownsville is in the process of setting up a resource center where survivors can learn more about the services available to them.

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