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Family Crisis Center Offers Hope to Domestic Abuse Victims

OGDEN, Utah — According to a recent study from the CDC, one in three women in Utah will experience some type of domestic violence and 40 percent of all homicides in the state are related to domestic violence.

There have been a number of high profile cases in the last few months alone.

There is a huge need for help — and just because there aren’t any bumps and bruises, that doesn’t mean abuse isn’t happening.

Normally when you see a story like this, you don’t know hear from a woman, or if you do, her identity is protected. However, one Utah woman is speaking out in the hopes of helping those who are scared and silent.

“He told me that he sees me as property,” said Carmen, a domestic violence survivor. “He took all the money out of the bank account so I couldn’t take care of our child.”

YCC is a family crisis center in Ogden. It may not look like a five star hotel, but for Carmen, it was home for her and her daughter for months.

“(I had questions like) should I wait for him to be punching me? Should I wait for him to choke me before I leave?”

YCC is one of the largest places of refuge for people like Carmen in the state. The facility is full of women and children but you’re not going to see any of them in the TV story – they’re being fiercely protected.

“We’re here to help people, families, individuals stay safe,” Julee Smith, the director of YCC said.

None of Carmen’s problems started overnight.

“He would bring me flowers,” Carmen said. “He would hold the door for me all the time. He would call me beautiful every day.”

But things changed.

“The first week he was a different person,” Carmen said. “The first week we got married.”

Carmen says some of her strongest memories are the yelling, the belittling and the put-downs.

“Abuse is real even if it’s mental,” Carmen said. “(An abuser) can destroy you and make you feel like you are worthless.”

She doesn’t like going into detail of the other types of abuse she suffered — but she put a stop to it.

“It was cold and snowing and it was December,” Carmen remembered. “I had nowhere to go.”

A police officer told her about YCC. She believes the services here saved her life, and not just with a place to stay.

“We want to eradicate domestic violence and sexual assault,” Smith said.

There is a crisis line, on-going counseling, childcare and even legal help.

“We’re not shy,” Smith said.

Most importantly, YCC offers hope.

“I can have boundaries and if they don’t want to respect those boundaries, they are not the right person for me.”

All the services at YCC are confidential and free, that being said they are always in need of donations. Cash is welcome and there is a list of badly needed items on their website.

This Saturday, the 1st annual Spring Gala is being held at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center from 6pm to 9pm to raise funds for the center. More information can also be found at www.YCCHope.org

The 24-hour crisis helpline is 801-392-7273.

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