Local authorities take part in national effort to stop domestic violence
CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. - For Dixielynn Johnson, domestic violence was a problem she faced five years ago and is still fighting today.
"I was trapped in a bed of betrayal, cemented in flashbacks of his laughing, his weighted body anchoring me in position," she told a group of Clackamas County deputies and other law enforcement officials Wednesday shortly before they went out to make arrests as part of a national sweep to fight domestic violence.
Johnson was raped then followed and harassed by a man she knew. She's still dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder but is also counseling others.
Domestic violence is a widespread problem affecting more than a million women a year. But on Wednesday local and federal law enforcement officers went out with the mission of preventing more domestic violence.
They and their counterparts around the country had compiled domestic violence warrants.
In Clark County, for example, they served more than two dozen warrants and came across a rape suspect they'd been looking for.
The statistics are shocking. One in four intimate partners has suffered physical violence at the hands of a current or former partner.
In Portland, for example, domestic violence accounts for nearly half of all minor assaults. And it makes up a third of all serious attacks - and those are the victims who live.
New numbers show 44 victims of domestic violence died in Oregon last year. Some of them were children. More than half were shot to death.
And this year there was another tragic example. Jessie Cavett was shot in the head. Her estranged husband is now accused in her murder despite a restraining order.
And so to curb the violence, the police went out Wednesday looking for people violating other orders, for assault suspects and for anyone who could change a victim's story for the worse.
"I'm here to say I applaud you," Johnson told them before they began the day's sweep. "Maybe this time she will get out and stay out because of you."
On Wednesday night, police went after outstanding warrants. But unfortunately, most cases of domestic violence are never even reported.
If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, call the Domestic Violence Hotline for help. The number is 1-800-799-7233.
They also have a website, but their website warns that it's easy for someone else to track what websites you've visited, so going online to get help may not be the safest option for those in trouble.