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Black women account for 65% of all female domestic violence victims in Chicago: a surivor shares her story

Black women account for over half of all female domestic violence victims in Chicago
Black women account for over half of all female domestic violence victims in Chicago 03:50

CHICAGO (CBS) -  The statistics are alarming. 

An average of 24 people every minute become victims of domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner in the United States. That figure comes from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Precious Wright, of Chicago's Austin neighborhood, knows that firsthand. She has lived through it. 

"I am a survivor," she said.

Precious Wright, a domestic violence survivor shares her story CBS Chicago / Noel Montenegro

<h2>Loving relationship changes</h2>

"I was with this individual for about three years," Wright said. "He was literally a girl's dream—anything you would want in a man. Financially responsible, nice dates, traveling out of town."

About a year and a half later Wright said, the relationship changed. 

"It turned into extreme, extreme manipulation," she said.

She remembered arguments that got out of control, "that would turn into shouting fests and throwing things and destroying things, then threats."

Wright accused the man of stalking and harassing her. 

"He also made between 50 and 75 email addresses to email me from," she said. "He would call me from 100, 200 different numbers, and I would block him."

Between February 2020 and March 2021, Wright said she filed dozens of police reports. She accused the man of breaking her car window multiple times, demanding to be let into her home, and one time physically attacking her. 

"He punched me up. Closed fists. Threw me on the ground," Wright said.

Injury and damage to windshield Precious Wright Photos

Wright was able to get a two-year-long Order of Protection by writing in part: "I kept trying to fix the situation on my own. My abuser is stalking me at my home. He's waiting to catch me alone to physically assault me."

<h2>Domestic violence in Chicago</h2>

The CBS 2 Investigators analyzed decades worth of crime data as part of our more than year-long series of reports called Investigating Injustice. In 2023, the new analysis reveals more than 55,000 batteries of men and women. More than half of those were considered domestic.

Of the nearly 27,000 domestic batteries, 75% involved female victims. Of those women, 65% were Black.

"A lot of the times, police would just say: 'That's a civil matter. We can't force him to leave your home,'" said Wright.

A trauma therapist said this is a greater problem.

"Those who do report say the police don't have the best responses. They don't believe they have a case," said Gabrielle Molden-Carlwell. Molden-Carlwell works as a trauma therapist with Resilience, a non-profit that provides support and services for abused women and children. "If society don't believe that I'm being abused, what's wrong with me? Or is It because of the melanin in my skin? A lot of women just live with it."

<h2>Wright's message</h2>

Wright lived with the stalking, harassing, and violence for a long time too, and  has often taken back her abuser. 

"It wasn't just: 'I love you and I'm sorry. It was I love you, I'm sorry, get in the car,'" she said, "and now we're at the airport and we're going to St. Thomas."

One day, Wright had had enough and resolved to take the next critical step.

"It wasn't the order of protection that worked. That didn't keep him from contacting me and getting in my space," she said. "It was me leaving everything behind, literally. "

Wright ended up with a new place to live, a new jobm and a new car. It was made possible by a strong support system and her taking the first step by asking for help. 

"I couldn't have done it by myself," Wright said.

She has two messages for other women who face a similar situation.

 First, she said: "Be aware of the resources. Don't be afraid to reach out and take advantage of those resources." Secondly, she said: "Be resilient. Be strong and don't give up."

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