Domestic abuse survivors include woman shot in the head

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ALTON, IL (KTVI)-- Survivors of domestic violence and their supporters took to the streets of Alton Thursday night.  They hope to let others know how serious the problem is, and want victims to know help is available.

The event included speeches from victims.  Denise Melchert left an abusive relationship but met back up with her abuser over the promise of money.

"He was in the passenger seat and he pulled me down in a headlock, pulled my head down into this lap and shot me in the head," said Melchert.

She wanted people to understand it`s difficult for victims to leave an abusive relationship.

"People need to reach out and help you.  It`s not easy."

Buzie Bertagnolli shared her story of abuse.

"I`ve got a broken neck.  I`ve had broken noses," said Bertangnolli.

She even worked around police officers but kept the abuse hidden.

"I`ve worked for the county for 28 years and the people I worked with didn`t know what was going on," said Bertangolli. "You learn how to cover it up."

The Bock family wore t-shirts with a picture of their loved one on the front.  Julie Ann Bock was shot and killed in 2011 after divorcing her abuser.  She even changed the locks on her home.

"He broke into her home and shot her while she was sleeping," said Diane Bock, Julie Ann`s mother.

The Alton Police Department wears purple ribbons in October to highlight the prevalence of domestic violence.  This year the police chief`s wife and a few of her friends wanted to do more.

"Nobody knew what the ribbons were for," explained Sherry Simmons.

She hopes the walk will become a tradition and will help victims.  Her husband agrees.

"We need to reach out to them and make sure they have an outlet and the ability to leave and somewhere to go and somewhere safe," said Alton Police Chief Jason Simmons.

He`s disappointed by recent reports involving abuse by NFL players.

Simmons said, "I think the NFL needs to take a stronger stance on what is going on."

Advocates for victims say it's imperative they talk with someone about a safe plan for leaving an abusive relationship.

For help escaping domestic violence, Simmons says call police.  Oasis Women`s Shelter offers resources as well.  Oasis offers this number for help:  1-800-88-ABUSE. For more information go to www.oasisshelter.org

A Woman's Place also offers assistance.  Their hotline number is 1-800-220-8116.  http://awomansplace.org/.