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Women Speak Up About Domestic Violence in Germantown (PHOTOS)

Montgomery County Police Lt. Sonia Pruitt was at the beginning of her career when she responded to a domestic violence call along with two female officers.

GermantownWhen the three officers got to the location of the call, Pruitt saw the victim who had been severely beaten by the husband.

“Imagine his surprise he got three female officers standing there. …And he wanted to fight us because all he saw was three women,” she said in front of approximately 40 people- most women- during a conversation about domestic violence on July 21 in Germantown.

Pruitt has also been a victim of domestic violence.

“I lived with a young man who abused me physically, emotionally, financially, and sexually,” she told the audience.

The officer shared the abuse with a friend who looked at her and said “I’ve been there. Here’s what we are going to do.”

Pruitt, who does not talk about her story often, said she wanted to come to the Germantown meeting to show women in the audience “we [police officers] know how real it is.”

Debbie Feinstein, a senior assistant at the State’s Attorney’s Office, said 85 percent of victims of domestic violence are women. Physical abuse, Feinstein said, is the sign that people look for the most, but domestic violence can also be emotional.

Feinstein said the department’s mission is to work for women, children, vulnerable adults, elders, and men.

“A lot of people think that domestic violence is physical, but it takes a lot of forms … It’s also emotional. It could be psychological. Someone controlling what someone else thinks. Manipulating them. Making someone fearful [and] intimidating them,” she said.

But in Montgomery County there are a safe places where families can go such as the Montgomery County Family Justice Center where victims can receive counseling, legal advice, food and more.

CherylDuring the Germantown conversation, county officials said it takes between four to seven times before a victim leaves the relationship “for good.”

Cheryl Kravitz, a member of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council for Montgomery County, is a survivor of domestic violence. She spoke softly but with confidence, and said for more than 10 years she lived in fear. Her ex-husband beat her and shot flea spray in her eyes.

Until one night after she called a friend and asked if her daughter could stay overnight. Her friend asked an “important” question “you being hurt; aren’t you?”

That night Kravitz ex-husband got drunk and dragged her across the floor, she told the audience adding that he went to the bedroom and shut the door. Kravitz made into a guest room and fell asleep.

After hearing a strong pounding on the front door, Kravitz saw them. It was the police. Her friend tried to call and when Kravitz did not answer, she called 911.

“Suddenly I cared too,” she said. Kravitz walked out and never came back.

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Aline Barros

About Aline Barros

Aline Barros is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at Abarros@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @AlineBarros2.

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