Speaking up on domestic violence: Who will answer the call?

In the last month, we have reported on at least two incidents of husbands accused of killing their wives.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:50 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In the past month, we have reported on at least two incidents of husbands accused of killing their wives.

Some people in the community have voiced their frustration saying authorities are not doing enough to stop the violence.

The Augusta District Attorney’s Office and Safe Homes of Augusta say they’ve been working with other organizations to form a special task force.

Here’s a closer look at the situation in Augusta and the frustration some say they’re feeling.

“She went through this for 10 years. It didn’t just happen tonight, it didn’t just happen six days ago,” said Deadra Thompson, a friend of Commen Gunn.

She says she went through some of the same things as Gunn but with a different outcome.

“I never told anyone that I was in an abusive relationship. I just thank God I had the strong mind to get away because everyone doesn’t have the strong mind,” she said.

Her reason why was the fear of being let down.

“People don’t like to share with everyone because people will let you down. You could tell somebody this and share this with somebody and they’ll brush it off,” said Thompson.

She says Gunn was let down after she filed multiple reports for help.

“Justice has failed her and many of the women in Richmond County. I can’t speak on other states and cities, but Richmond County had failed her,” said Thompson.

She says leaders in Richmond County need to do more.

“We need more support. We need to come together with these victims that are going through the abuse, the judges, to lawyers, to Safe Homes, wherever, we need to come together as a city. Stop being scared to speak the truth,” she said.

Leaders say they are doing more, in fact, they’ve been working behind the scenes even before recent domestic cases to form a task force for domestic violence.

Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said: “What we’re trying to do is develop a focus returns program, where when we get these people we get them to the justice system and courts triage who needs to go to jail right then, who needs to go to a program like anger management, marital counseling and things like that.”

Thompson says at the end of the day, a community is better together.

“It takes a village, and it takes strength, and then it takes pride. So I’m asking, come on. Let’s get together,” she said.

The task force is still in its early stages. They’re working to set goals and fill leadership positions.