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'It's a hard call people need to make': Greitens allegations shine spotlight on domestic violence

Abuse advocates express the importance of having the strength to speak out.

ST. LOUIS — Trauma stemming from domestic abuse can still cut deep years after the situation has ended according to Safe Connections, an organization that advises and protects domestic and sexual assault victims.

“The bruises and wounds will heal over time,” Heidi Suguitan, director of youth services said. “But the emotional injuries are invisible and take much longer to heal."

In many cases, the victims remain silent. Sheena and Eric Greitens, the former first couple of Missouri are in a custody battle as his run for senate heats up.

“People will often use a position of power and influence and wield that as a weapon, a tool to keep victims silent,” Suguitan said.

Sheena Greitens accused her ex-husband of exactly that. The former governor’s campaign denies the domestic abuse allegations saying it’s a ploy by her to win their custody battle. He even went as far to call her “deranged.”

Many times the path of healing and justice starts with speaking up, Suguitan said.

"It's a hard call people need to make for themselves,” Suguitan said. “I wish I could ensure justice when people speak, but that's not something I can guarantee. Each victim needs to look at their situation and see what's safe for them in that moment. I think the more people see others speak, the more courage it gives everyone else. One victim speaking out can encourage another. You aren't alone, it can remind them it takes a lot of courage, but we are a community and won't stand for abusive behavior."

If you or someone you know is in crisis or in an unsafe relationship, help is available. Safe Connections has a 24-hour helpline. The number to call is 314-531-2003.

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