Many times people who are being abused are afraid to go to the authorities, for fear their partner will become angrier, but places like "pathways" are a safe way for women to start a new, non-abusive life.
Shartoria Jackson conceals cuts and bruises from being abused by her current boyfriend. "He grabbed the pole, and I can't defend myself, when a 27 year old man is trying to kill me, he had me in the ER," says Jackson.
Sheila Craig, who's now homeless, was on the other end of the stick. She was the abuser with her very own family. "Me and my daughter, we use to fight a lot, and I would get arrested," says Craig.
And a lady named Ginger says her step-father use to ask her for sex and beat her.
Police are encountering more domestic violence related cases. A recent study by the violence policy center rated Alabama second behind Nevada for having the most women killed by men. These stories are all too familiar with the police department and Maria Dickens.
"Hardships and plight come to women at different stages," says Dickens. Dickens works for "Pathways", an agency that serves homeless women and children. Dickens says women from their early 20's to their 70's come to "Pathways" to start anew, and transform their lives. "Agencies like "Pathways" are here to walk with them, through the process, not to get discouraged because they did not get into their situation overnight, so it won't go away over night," says Dickens.
And that's what these three ladies are doing now, spending day after day at the agency to move forward. Ginger says, "I feel like I'm a lot of a better person today, than I was back then."
Jackson says, "I'm still dealing with it, every night I still think about it, and I cry about it, but you got to let the past be the past..."
Sheila Craig says, "It's kind of like getting back on the track."
If you're a woman and need help, you're encouraged to call 205-322-6854.