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Domestic violence remains a problem in Kern County and around the country

“There should be no violence and no fear for your life or for your safety when you're engaged in a committed relationship,” says Open Door Network CEO Lauren Skidmore.
Posted: 8:42 PM, Jan 24, 2023
Updated: 2023-01-24 23:42:21-05
Domestic Violence (FILE)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — San Francisco 49ers defensive end Charles Omenihu was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor domestic violence. It follows an alleged incident with his girlfriend on Monday. Omenihu has since posted bail and is no longer in custody

Domestic violence is a crime that happens everywhere, including here at home.

23ABC spoke with The Open Door Network CEO Lauren Skidmore about what their organization has seen in Kern County.

Skidmore said they've noticed an increase in the number of domestic violence calls investigated by local law enforcement over the past few years.

“We believe some of it was pandemic-related with folks being you know, at home with their partner and maybe not having an outlet to leave and to go do normal activities,” Skidmore said. “But we also think that just due to population increase and some of the outlying areas and some of the issues facing humans in general, it's causing an increase in domestic violence.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nationally 23 percent of females and 14 percent of males have been victims of severe physical violence by their partner, and after experiencing domestic violence, female victims were three times more likely to have sustained physical injuries than male victims.

The trauma can last longer than the abuse. 52 percent of females and 17 percent of males who experience domestic violence exhibit symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

When it comes to victims, Skidmore said the biggest problem with these situations is the belief that this type of relationship is common and that the volatile love they share with their partner is normal. She also said victims believe even if they were to leave, the same violence would happen in their next relationship.

“There should be no violence and no fear for your life or for your safety when you're engaged in a committed relationship,” Skidmore said. “And I think that's hard for anyone to overcome is just to identify what truly is a violent relationship. And that can be mental and that can be physical, it doesn't always have to be physical.”

The Open Door Network has a 24-hour hotline, which connects victims with services including shelter, therapy and transportation. That number is 661-327-1091.

Along with the phone line, the non-profit provides a number of resources to help every victim of violence, including children who have witnessed the abuse.

“If you're a mother or father, an individual engaged in domestic violence, and you have a child that is present during these moments, the child is watching this and thinking it may be a normal part of relationships, and that it's okay to treat another human with that type of violence or mental abuse. And it's not,” Skidmore said. “And so we have to be a good role model for our children. But we also need to know as a parent, that there's options out there to support our children, even if they have been exposed.”

To learn more about services available at The Open Door Network, visit their Facebook page.