Sioux Falls, SD
Violence against both women and men is on the rise, a fact that counselors with Children's Inn want more people to be aware of as they battle against this trend.
"Domestic violence is very much an issue in our community and every community, really. We can't pretend that it doesn't happen. We don't always hear about it, but there's a lot going on related to domestic violence and child abuse," operations manager Amy Carter said.
As the city of Sioux Falls grows, so do domestic abuse reports. Since she started at Children's Inn, Carter says she's never seen the number of cases drop.
"I feel that the severity of the cases have maybe increased over time, and there are just so many ways through technology and stalking and things like that where people can abuse another person," Carter said.
Officers say the latest homicide in Sioux Falls highlights the seriousness of domestic violence. Michael Martinez could face life in prison if convicted of murdering his girlfriend, 21-year-old Beverly Guerra. The attack started as a verbal argument and then turned physical. In Guerra's case, two children were in the same apartment at the time of the attack. Carter says children involved in domestic abuses cases could be emotionally scarred for years.
"Physically, they can have ways that it affects them living in a home where there's that fear and that constant chaos," Carter said. "As they get older, they might rebel and become abusive themselves because that's all that they've seen modeled or they might find themselves in an abusive relationship."
There are outward signs people should look for if they suspect that violence is taking place in a relationship, including cuts, bruises and even burns. To go along with the physical signs of violence, there are also subtle changes that could be a red flag as well.
Sudden changes in personality are also major clues, but Carter says those could be easily hidden.
"There's lots of different ways that it can look. It just depends on the person and some people are good at hiding it also, and they don't let anybody in. You're not going to know any of those signs," Carter said.
Starting last year, medical personnel can ask patients about their home life if they suspect domestic violence is taking place.
If you would like to know more about the resources available, you can visit the Children's Inn website.