NEW ORLEANS- The St. Bernard Battered Women's Program is a place where women, children and in, some cases men, come to seek refuge from abusive and life-threatening relationships.
Gail Gowland, Executive Director of the program says more often than not, this place is their last option.
"Plenty of times they think they're the only ones in the situation. Most of the time when they come into shelter, it's because the abuse has funneled down to the children," Gowland said.
The news about Kimberly Owens’ gruesome death broke her heart. Mark Owens surrendered to St. Bernard deputies Wednesday morning after he allegedly used an ax to kill Owens, his ex-wife. It happened in a front yard where she was staying with her mother.
"Early indications tell us that he may have been waiting for her to go to work," Sheriff James Pohlman said.
According to the sheriff's office, Kim Owens filed a restraining order against her ex-husband in 2014 after he allegedly threatened former parish president David Peralta. Mark Owens believed the parish president was romantically involved with his ex-wife.
Then in 2015, Owens held Kimberly Owens against her will with a weapon before surrendering to police.
"It's happening all too often," Gowland said.
According to a new report by the Violence Police Center study, "When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2015 Homicide Data, Louisiana is ranked third in the nation for women murdered by men. It's the seventh year in a row the state has been ranked in the top 10.
Gowland says the state recently passed laws dealing with domestic violence, but she says Wednesday's murder is evidence that women need more protection.
"We've seen like four generations come here. So that shows that it is a cycle of abuse that goes on if that's what they're seeing that's what they learn to know," Gowland said.
If you would like more information on the St. Bernard Battered Womens Program, call 504-277-3177.
For more on the study click here.
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