GALESBURG, Illinois - In Galesburg, police say they responded to more than 1,400 domestic abuse-related calls last year.
That resulted in 223 arrests for domestic battery and last year, there were 17 criminal sexual assault cases filed.
One survivor says too many victims are sitting alone in silence and may need help to get out a dangerous situation. Many victims in domestic violence situations don't know how to get out and leaving an abusive situation could kill them. That's why victims are asking you to help give them a voice.
For six years, mother of four, Shalamar Crowell was abused by her ex-husband.
“He pushed me, he spit in my face,” remembers Shalamar.
Shalamar says the signs were there but no one helped. Until one day a stranger stepped in while she was being abused.
“His name was Mr. Thomas. His actions that day changed my life forever. I don't know what would have happened that day had he not intervened,” says Shalamar.
Shalamar shared her story at the annual Take Back the Night Rally on October 18, 2016 in Galesburg. She’s asking others who see abuse to take action.
“Everyone thinks this doesn't happen to them and they can't relate to the story. We are everyone, we are the people in the grocery store that smile at you that you don't know,” says Shalamar.
Kathy Richardson with Safe Harbor says communities who rally behind victims are the ones who create change.
“They don't always come forward to help the victim. They may know what's going on but they choose to look the other way,” says Richardson.
For some speakers, they regret looking the other way.
“I found out from her brother that she killed herself. I have to live with the fact that there is something I could have done different,” says Anthony, who spoke during the rally.
That's why Shalamar and advocates from Safe Harbor want people to take a stand.
“A lot of times it's just the abuser versus the victim. Strangers can help so, help. Stop being silent,” says Shalamar.