BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Domestic abuse is a widespread problem affecting millions of women.
In Blytheville the Haven of Northeast Arkansas offers safe shelter for victims, and now a new facility will be opening to offer education and a chance to rebuild dreams.
One byproduct of domestic abuse is the victim loses sense of self and self worth. Once a victim strikes out on her own she needs a place to regain her self esteem.
Many calls that the Blytheville Police Department respond to daily have domestic roots.
"A lot of times if you investigate them when you get back to the root of what it originally the problem was it's always domestic."
Sgt.. Vanessa Stewart is specially trained for dealing with domestic violence cases. To her, abuse strikes very close to home.
"I was one of the ones that didn't talk about it. Didn't tell nobody that I was going through that."
Having moved on and being a successful example to other women. St. Stewart kept her close ties to the Haven Shelter but knew there needed to be something more publicly oriented.
This Saturday the doors will open at 508 Chickasawba in Blytheville as "Rebuilding Dreams" becomes a reality.
"We're trying to nurture the inside part. Cause once you get that part better they are well on their way to solving that problem. Were gonna talk about the different types of abuse. Economic, religious, spiritual. It's more than just punching. It starts verbal, emotional. They hold scars more than the physical sometimes."
Exercise equipment and aerobic dancing. And since the center is located in Anthony Smiths' Martial Arts Center. Self defense techniques will be offered as well.
Smith, "The main purpose of mixed martial arts is to help build character and also build confidence and that's an important thing to get that confidence level back up."
Stewart, "They feel that nobody cares about them. There's no reason I should leave you know. There is another way out , you have options and that is what we are trying to show them."
Much of the remodeling and equipment was paid for by a grant from the Allstate Insurance company. Public education will also take place at the center to make more people aware of the symptoms and signs of abuse.
Sgt.. Johnson said she hopes this center will bring out those who need that first step toward getting help.
"We have so many people in the community that want to see a change but they don't know where to go and I can get the ball rolling on that."
For now the center will be open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:30. She hopes to expand hours with more volunteers.
The grand opening will be held Saturday at 4:30 PM.
The phone number for the center is 870-278-7151.
But if you need help now to get out of an abusive situation call the Haven at 1 800 474 1064 and let them help you.