PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but it’s not enough to acknowledge domestic violence exists.

Every second, 3 people in the United States become victims of domestic violence, and you’d be shocked to know how many of those victims live in our community. 

“From January to the end of September, we had served over 390 participants, and that was brand new participants that had not been with our program in the previous year,” said Salvation Army Domestic Violence Program Executive Director Kimberly Garbett. 

Garbett says domestic violence victims are often manipulated into depending on their abuser to survive. 

“It’s systematic abuse, which starts with emotional abuse and psychological, a lot of gaslighting,” said Garbett. “Often it’ll escalate and go into physical violence and other forms.”

The Salvation Army provides temporary shelter, food, and clothing for victims and their children. Victim advocates help clients transition to permanent homes, help them find jobs, and provide the tools they need to live independently. All domestic violence relief services are free to victims, and men are eligible to participate in the domestic violence program as well. No one is immune to becoming a victim of domestic abuse. 

“It happens in all aspects of life, all backgrounds, all demographics,” said Salvation Army Domestic Violence Program Administrative Assistant Taylor Meadors. “They need a support system and we definitely serve as their support system.”

The Salvation Army Domestic Violence Program is holding a fundraising kickball tournament on October 28th at Oakland Terrace Park. They encourage everyone to come and show their support.