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Greene County has Highest Domestic Violence Rate in the State

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/greenecoun_1406.mp3

Greene County has the highest incidence of a violent crime that affects one in three women.

KSMU's Christy Hendricks reports.

At first glance, Melissa Jordan looks like an average, single 33-year-old woman in Springfield...with brown curly hair, brown eyes, her khaki skirt and jean jacket.

She loves volunteering at her church, doing community service and playing guitar.

Talk to her and she'll let you know she's self-assured and has a heart for other people.

But get to know her and you'll find she's been through more than anyone ever should.

Two and a half years ago Melissa was a victim of domestic violence.

She was held hostage for 15 hours by a former boyfriend.

He shot her in the chest.

Melissa now has an eight inch scar that runs down the middle of her chest.

She says it's a reminder everyday of her mission to help other women in abusive relationships.

Melissa Jordan says looking back over the 13 years she was in four abusive relationships has taught her to look for warning signs.

October is domestic violence awareness month, a month Pat Reiser says should make the public think more carefully about domestic violence.

Reiser is the president and CEO of the Family Violence Center in Springfield.

She says Greene County has almost twice as many incidences of domestic violence than any county in the state.

Pat Reiser says the Family Violence Center takes in women and children from abusive relationships and offers case management, counseling, child care and other services.

She says the center stays full most of the time with women from all different backgrounds.

Reiser says education is key to preventing domestic violence.

Melissa stayed at the Family Violence Center for three months and says she doesn't know where she'd be without their help.

To contact the Family Violence Center call 864-SAFE (7233) or visit www.familyviolencecenter.org.