Domestic Violence Awareness Month: First Step Expands to Montague County

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and one Texoma agency is expanding their outreach to help victims. First Step a non-profit aimed at aiding victims of domestic violence and sexual assault recently opened a new support group in Montague County. The county has a high number of meth use and child abuse and research tells them that is where domestic violence is frequently found. The support group began operating a month ago in Nocona and meets every Monday evening for women to cope with violence of their past and present.

A survivor specialist with First Step Myra Gideon was once in the position of the women who come to her seeking help and understanding. After dealing with her abusive past she uses her future to empower women.

"We want people to heal enough to know what is a healthy relationship and what is not a healthy relationship," said Gideon.

Located inside Grace Place-A Hand Up in Nocona, Myra Gideon chose this area for a reason that no Montague County resident wants to hear.

"Both Montague County and Wilbarger had a lot of domestic violence calls for rural counties," she said.

The most recent statistics she found in 2009 showed the number of domestic violence calls coming out of those areas was nearly at 100, for each county.

"When you consider also that most domestic violence never gets reported to police that's just the tip of the iceberg."

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence last year 142 women were killed from domestic violence. A startling number that Myra says could be prevented through groups like First Step that teach women and men red flag signs.

"If the person that you're dating controls who you can see, who your friends are, what you wear, whether you can work or not and where you can work," she says that is a top warning sign.

While this support group just began in Montague she hopes to expand to Wilbarger to help another Texoma County struggling with high amounts of domestic violence.

"They're sort of in the same boat as Montague County with the drug abuse problem and the child abuse problem," said Gideon.

The support group meets every Monday at 6pm at Grace Place-A Hand Up. If you would like more information you contact Myra Gideon with First Step at 940-692-4494.

The agency will hold their annual candle light vigil later this month to spread awareness and shed light on domestic violence in our community.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.