By: Leah Uko
(OMAHA) KPTM – At least three people have died from domestic violence in Omaha this year. And one in four women and one in seven men are domestically abused every year. These numbers were troubling for a crowd outside the Douglas County Courthouse Tuesday night.
They gathered for a vigil on the steps outside in hopes of reaching out to people experiencing abuse, who feel they can't escape.
This was the second year Liz Jones helped organize the vigil. Her father abused her when she was five years old until she was 12. He was sentenced to 20 years, she said, but only served five because of the good time law.
Jones got married years later and began to experience abuse from her ex-husband.
"Everybody says, ‘it's your fault. It's your fault you stayed for 10 years! It's your fault'," she continued. "It's not."
Jones said domestic violence offenders isolate their victims.
"Beatings if you don't come home on time, they restrict your phone use, they don't let you have your own vehicle."
She added that many victims don't leave because they lack confidence in the justice system.
"There's no help! There's none."
She and others who spoke to the crowd of about 50 were asking lawmakers to toughen up on early releases for violent offenders.
Kay Sheinost lost her daughter 15 years ago to domestic violence. She said her daughter left her husband, moved to Nebraska and filed for divorce. He moved to Omaha shortly after and called to tell her to pick up some of her belongings. When she got to his place, he shot her in the back of the neck and killed her.
"It's not the answer to the problems," Sheinost said. "Taking a life—you cant take that back."
She said people stay in abusive relationships because of family, fear or faith.
"I don't think you should stay in a marriage that's abusive. Even though you promised ‘for good times or for bad' I don't think you should and I don't think God does either."
Can't find something?