Shopping Event To Benefit Crisis Center

The number of victims of domestic violence is growing by an astonishing amount each year.

To give you an idea of the growing problem of domestic violence: In Texas alone, 117 women were killed last year by a partner. This year, 142 were killed. That's more than a 20-percent increase.

Tonight, Bergfeld Center in Tyler is hosting a shopping event to benefit a local organization that helps those victims.

"My life right now is one day at a time."

An East Texas woman went by the name "Jodi" when talking to us. She wants to be disguised because she is a high-risk victim. Her husband sexually abused her and has threatened more harm.

"First it was like once a month, then it went to once a week, and then to everyday," Jodi said.

She says he kept her away from other people, including friends, and didn't allow her to go anywhere.

"They separate you. They control you. You get to the point where you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Now, he's even hiding her children from her.

"You think you can change that person, but you can't. And it's not going to get better. It's just going to get worse."

What has gotten better is Jodi's outlook on life, ever since she made one phone call to the East Texas Crisis Center.

"There's people that will give their all to make you whole and to help you start over."

The East Texas Crisis Center helps victims find jobs, legal help, and shelter. Jodi also learned from other women and her counselor that her story is not unique.

"It's very typical," Susan Cason, the domestic violence program coordinator at ETCC, said. "And some of the things she described about her relationship are almost textbook."

Jodi is sharing her story to encourage other victims of domestic violence to get help.

"I just want to tell any woman that's being abused in any way, that they don't have to stay in that situation," she said. "They can get help and they can live a fulfilling life. God did not intend you to live like that."

Jodi draws courage from other women who have gone through what she has and are moving on with their lives.

The East Texas Crisis Center is putting on the Shopping Card Event tonight at 6-8 p.m.

If you donate $50, you can get a card that gives you 20 percent off merchandise at the stores in Bergfeld Center. The discount also applies to more than 100 stores from this Saturday to next Saturday.

The Tyler Big Band will perform at tonight's event.

Julie Tam, reporting.