BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A domestic violence panel was held at Saint Mary Baptist Church on Thursday.

Angela Gabriel, a domestic violence survivor, started off the panel called “You Don’t Have to Suffer in Silence,” by describing her traumatic story.

“My partner, someone I thought who would protect me, shot me nine times while I was taking bath,” Gabriel said.

After gasping from the crowd, she said, “Yeah, I’m used to hearing that reaction from people.”

“We’ve seen a rise in it within our community and pretty much across the country,” said Myron Daniels, the Baton Rouge Police deputy chief.

During the meeting, Melanie Fields, the assistant district attorney at East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office mentioned how these domestic violence acts are becoming more gruesome, especially when it comes to social media. Oftentimes, these crimes have an underlying problem that needs to be solved.

“Often there are co-existing issues, abusers often come from an abusive childhood, and therefore some of them have co-existing issues such as drug and alcohol abuse,” said Fields.

According to the Domestic Violence Hotline, the average victim leaves seven times before staying away for good.

“There are plenty of resources in our community, and people like me who care to help them out of the situation they are in,” said Tonja Myles, a domestic and sexual trauma survivor.

“This is a great symposium meeting,” said Daniels. “We are trying to educate people about this abuse and how there are resources to help.”

If you’ve been a victim, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. By victims coming forward to law enforcement, there’s a strong chance it could save the victim’s life.

The event was presented by several organizations including the Baton Rouge Police Department, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s Office, The Butterfly Society, District Attorney Hillar Moore, and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, NOBLE, IRIS Domestic Violence Shelter, and Capital Area Family Justice Center.