There's hope for domestic violence victims

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Tiffany Sparks was physically and mentally abused by her ex-husband for 11 years. Five years later, she is out of the relationship and volunteers as a motivational speaker against domestic violence. She said she does it because she does not want anyone else to suffer like she did. "If one more person realzies that we don't have to stand to be hit and abused anymore, it makes me feel good," said Sparks.

Sparks said the road to recovery was a long journey. She said the counselors at the Famly Crisis Center in Lufkin carried her through her darkest days. "They were there to help me and start my life all over," said Sparks.

Sparks saidthe hardest part was gathering the courage to leave. Deidra Ware, Family Crisis Center Counselor, said Sparks isn't alone in that regard. "Leaving is the most dangerous time for a victim, it's important that that person calls our hotline and receives services, outreach services such as safety planning," said Ware.

Ware said domestic violence victims can stay at the "safe house" located behind the Family Crisis Center. The "safe house" is fully secured so that women and children feel safe and protected.

The Angelina County District Attorney said it is important to not underestimate the seriousness of domestic violence. "I would think that if there's any doubt in their mind that they may be the victim of violence, they should contact the shelter or they should contact a friend," said Ware.

Sparks said leaving was the toughest choice she ever made. "I didn't think I was going to make it, but I forced myself to live because of my son," said Sparks.

Sparks said she used to find it hard to smile, even when the sun was out shining bright; however, she said she has a reason to smile and laugh again.

If you or somebody you know is involved in domestic violence, the Family Crisis Center of East Texas is here to help you. There is also a 24 hour crisis hotline, 1-800-828-7233.