LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The hostage held during a five-hour standoff with Yell County Police spoke openly to members of the media Friday. Haley Mcham said she had been Bowden's girlfriend and was trying to break up with him.
Mcham's plea to get out of dangerous relationships begs the question: "How does someone escape?" Two overcomers of domestic violence said it's never easy getting out of an abusive relationship. They said you're either scared or too afraid to leave. Saturday the two offered comfort and hope to those being abused.
Tameka Monk lives at the Dorcas House off S. Park Street. They help more than 400 abused women and children every year. The program takes nine months and lets Monk, and other women reinvent their identity.
"You can be in an abusive relationship, and it's hard to get out of,” Monk said. "I had an abusive relationship, and it caused me to be separated from my kids."
That relationship lasted nearly two months, but after several rounds of verbal and physical abuse, she said she knew she had to get away. Monk offered advice for others wanting to escape.
“Find a place to go and find some help,” Monk said. “Or tell a family member."
According to a 2015 study by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Arkansas has the 5th highest rate of rape cases in the United States and the presence of a gun in the home increases the chance for homicides by 500 percent.
Sandra McAnear prays inside a chapel room at the Dorcas House every morning. She too was involved with an abuser and fell victim to drugs and alcohol.
"You just think you're this beaten person, this bruised person that nobody will ever love and that nobody will ever see the light in,” McAnear said. “When I came here, I got to deal with both of those issues, and it completely changed my life."
She said with help from classes and prayer it made readjusting that much easier. McAnear is hoping others with getting out before it's too late.
"You can be healed and changed, you're not that person that you used to be,” McAnear said. “There's always tomorrow, and there's always a step you can take.”
McAnear graduates from the program in July. She plans on continuing to work with women as a volunteer. Links to organizations like Dorcas House is here.
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