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Domestic Violence Escalates with Economic Stress and Coastal Disasters

By Rhonda Miller | Published 21 May 2011 03:07pm | comments
Patrick Bracey at Beach Park in Pascagoula during a walk sponsored by New Beginnings Domestic Violence Program.

Economic troubles are causing a rise in domestic violence across the nation. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports disasters on the Mississippi Gulf Coast add to the problem of domestic abuse.

Twenty-nine-year-old Patrick Bracey of Pascagoula worked the oil spill cleanup for few months. Bracey said he’s not sure if being out of work or the violence he saw growing up made him go over the edge.

"Just thinking my wife was cheating on me, and not actually having information, I was less of a man and slapped my wife," Bracey said.

His wife called the police and he went to jail for 24 hours.

"I went to court and I pled guilty because in my heart and in my mind I knew I was wrong," Bracey said.

He saw his mother abused by his father and his stepfather and decided the cycle of violence ends with him. Bracey went to court-ordered anger management and learned how to cool off.

"I might walk to the graveyard 'cause I lost my mother two years ago. I just go to the graveyard and talk to my mother, or do music," Bracey said.

Tracy White is the Victim Advocate for the New Beginnings Domestic Violence Program in Pascagoula.

"The past six months the calls, the referrals from the municipal courts, the protective orders, it really has increased a whole lot," White said.

Statewide, the Department of Health runs 13 domestic violence shelters that served 2,000 women and children during the past year.

Lisa Wilbourn, of the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Non-Violence, said Mississippi has historically had a high rate of domestic violence.

"Especially here on the Coast, Katrina is still a major impact, the national economy, and then the BP oil spill," Wilbourn said.

Those factors can escalate domestic abuse. During the past year, the Gulf Coast center housed 600 women and children in its shelter. Its crisis hotline got 15,000 calls.
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Domestic Violence Hotlines;
Gulf Coast Women's Center 24-hour Crisis Line, 1-800-800-1396
Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1-800-898-3234, M-F 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 1-800- 799-7233, 24-hour hotline

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Patrick Bracey at Beach Park in Pascagoula during a walk sponsored by New Beginnings Domestic Violence Program.


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