Topeka Domestic Violence Reports Show Increase From 2011

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Some eye-opening numbers from Topeka Police, on the increasing numbers of domestic violence calls in the Capital City. They come as the YWCA launches its 18th annual Week Without Violence.

"He was on the altar guild, a supporter of the school booster club, he had money," Topeka resident Joe Cheray described her abuser, her grandfather, who she says put her in an emotionally, physically and sexually abusive environment, one she fought hard to escape.

"I had to leave my home. I had to leave my family. I had to leave my room, my school. I had to leave everything behind," Cheray said.

But Cheray hadn't broken the cycle of violence. She was raped at age 23, and held captive in several more abusive relationships.

It's an issue hitting home in Topeka. So far this year, the police department has taken more than 1,136 domestic violence reports. That's up from 902 at this time last year, and fewer than 57 cases from last year's total.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the crimes are hard to stop because they're crimes of intimacy and power.

"It requires the state, the public, volunteers... those who want to help, to by definition intervene in our most personal relationships," Schmidt said.

Cheray vowed to break the cycle of abuse for her son. She says she tells her story because she's determined to gain strength, and to pass it on to others.

"Don't ever stop until you get out of it," Cheray said. "Keep going until somebody listens to you. because someone will listen. Someone will care and someone will help you get out."

Cheray says the Kansas Department for Children and Families, the YWCA, and local churches are good resources for victims.

The community-wide March Against Violence steps off at noon on Friday, starting at the Statehouse.