With chants of "end domestic violence in Pine Bluff," residents from all over Pine Bluff joined together Tuesday in a walk sponsored by the Pine Bluff Police Department to raise awareness about domestic violence.

With chants of "end domestic violence in Pine Bluff," residents from all over Pine Bluff joined together Tuesday in a walk sponsored by the Pine Bluff Police Department to raise awareness about domestic violence.


"Domestic violence knows no race or age or gender," Mayor Debe Hollingsworth said. "With your actions today, you are letting victims know that there are people out there that will help you."


People who participated walked around the Pine Bluff Civic Complex.


"My message to women is to get out and stay out," said Kimberly Cole-Bentley, a domestic violence survivor and employee at the Pine Bluff Police Department. "The relationship is not worth your life. Don’t be a victim, be a victor. Domestic violence doesn’t only affect you, but it will affect your children."


According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, almost 20 people per minute are victims of domestic violence.


"Good information and awareness will stop domestic violence," Hollingsworth said. "The city of Pine Bluff is very plugged in to the problem of domestic violence, and, to the victims out there, the city is here to help you."


According to a study done by the GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, about 60 percent of Americans know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. According to the same study, 67 percent of Americans say they don’t talk about domestic violence with friends or family.


"We’ve got speak out about domestic violence," Bentley said. "Many women are ashamed and embarrassed about their situation. The more we talk about it, the more we can let victims know they aren’t alone."


"For years, domestic violence has been hidden in the shadows," Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter said. "Now that it’s in the national spotlight, we can stop the violence now. It takes real courage to stand up to domestic violence as a victim, and we are here to help and protect you."


According to the study, among the 70 percent of women who told somebody about their domestic violence, 58 percent said that no one helped them.


"If you have a chance to stop domestic violence and don’t, you should be ashamed," Pine Bluff County Judge Dutch King said.


"With events like this, we can teach the public about how to deal with a domestic violence issue," Bentley said. "Once the public starts talking about the domestic violence issue, we can start making a effort to eliminate it completely."


The study done by GfK also showed that 73 percent of parents with children under 18 said they have not had a conversation about domestic violence or sexual assault with their children.


"I think school counselors and teachers need to talk about domestic violence to kids," Bentley said. "Teachers and counselors need to be trained to see the symptoms of domestic violence in kids and be able to help them."


Pine Bluff City Attorney Althea Hadden-Scott told the crowd how the legal system works to help victims of domestic violence.


"The main problem we face at our office is bullying by the accuser," Scott said. "The accuser will try to get the victim or us to drop the charges against them. I am here to let them know any time this office receives a domestic violence charge, we won’t be bullied by anyone. We will pursue the charge."


"This is a necessary effort," said Daryl A. Taylor Atkins, assistant city attorney and board member for the Committee Against Spouse Abuse. "Love shouldn’t hurt, but unfortunately, for some, it does."


CASA provides shelter, support groups, food, clothing, supplies, domestic violence classes and domestic violence case management to all that need it. According to CASA’s website, they have provided shelter to about 6,647 clients in the last 20 years.


"Domestic violence isn’t limited to just physical violence," Atkins said. "CASA is available for all victims that need help."


Many University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff social behavior and criminal justice students attended the walk.


"Domestic violence is a national tragedy," said Elbert Bennett, UAPB vice chancellor of student affairs. "We are here to show our support for the community."


Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks wrapped up the event.


"I say we make the theme for next year’s walk, ‘remember when domestic violence was a problem,’" Hubanks said. "Let next year’s walk be a celebration of when we as a community ended domestic violence."