One in three women will be sexually assaulted or beaten in their lives. That's according to FBI statistics. That equals one billion mothers, sisters, and daughters across the planet. The One Billion Rising movement began as a call to action to reduce violence against women and girls. Our Katie Gibas spoke with family members of victims about what this movement means to them.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Philip Kugler and his wife sit at one of the many One Billion Rising events being held worldwide. A cause that hits far too close to home. His sister, Linda Marie Kugler Neely, was killed by her estranged husband.
"Her husband was a drunkard and he just was abusive and she told him that if he didn't stop being abusive, she would leave. And he told her, 'If you leave, I'm going to kill you.' And she did leave and we kept her safe for a year or so. And he tracked her down one day and stabbed her with a kitchen knife. Now I don't have her anymore," said Philip Kugler, brother of domestic violence victim Linda Marie Kugler Neely.
Kugler affectionately describes his sister as buoyant, loving, and full of life. Looking back, he hopes his family's experience can save others from similar heartache.
"The hardest part about being in that situation is that it creeps up. It's like one step at a time. It's little things, little things. And they keep getting bigger. And you don't really see it, and so you're somewhat blindsided. And you don't really believe it can happen," said Kugler.
Kugler has joined forces with Vera House to end violence against women. Vera House offers several programs to stop abuse, including a 24-hour crisis hotline, emergency shelter and a men's outreach program.
"It's very important that we raise awareness and give our community solutions. In my effort, we focus on men because men can stop violence. 90 percent of all of the perpetrators or those who commit violence against women are men. So we believe that as men, if we stand up and make a difference and take the lead then we can stop violence," said George Kilpatrick, the Vera House Men's Outreach Coordinator.
For those families who have been affected by domestic abuse, One Billion Rising, has been a sense of support and a hope for an end to violence against women.
If you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, Vera House has a number of support services. Their 24-hour hotline phone number is (315) 468-3260.