BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Twahana Harris works closely with the community while working with the East Baton Rouge Metro Council.
In honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, she is sharing her personal experience in hopes of saving a life.
“Broke ribs, busted lips, you name it — these things happen,” Harris said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Harris was in an abusive relationship for years with a former boyfriend. Fifteen years later she has healed and is now the founder of The Butterfly Society, an anti-domestic violence nonprofit helping others escape what she went through.
“Butterflies symbolize new beginnings. It represents peace, it represents loss,” she said.
The nonprofit offers housing and legal assistance, support groups and more.
Since the start of the pandemic, domestic violence cases have increased due to victims being stuck at home with their abusers. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports more relationships can become abusive due to stresses from the pandemic.
“Most of our victims were those who were employed and found safety at work,” Harris said.
Harris said it’s been hard to spread awareness because of the pandemic, this also causing more victims to be left in the dark.
“Twenty-five domestic violence-related homicides in the city of Baton Rouge. [In] 2020, there were 19,” according to Harris.
Harris said it takes years of courage, recovery, and growth to stand up to an abuser.
“We crossed paths, a couple of days after leaving him. He threatened to kill me at that moment. When they tell you they are going to kill you, they will do just that,” she said.
Throughout the month, the Butterfly Society will host virtual events to raise domestic violence awareness. If you or you know someone who is in need of help, you can contact the Butterfly Society support team at 225-347-7725 or visit here.