LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's been less than a week since Lexington Police say a man shot and killed his wife only a few days after she tried to get a protective order. Advocates for survivors of domestic violence want them to be able to get all the help they need and for everyone to be in a position to help them.
With domestic violence homicides on the rise in Lexington, victims' advocates want to remove any stigma around seeking help.
"It's not anything to be embarrassed about. It's all too frequent," said Diane Fleet, associate director of GreenHouse 17.
GreenHouse 17 serves survivors in 17 counties in Central Kentucky.
"We're a 24/7 agency. People can call us on our 800 number at any time if they have questions about what to put in the petition and to sort of build their safety. Leaving an abusive situation is one of the high-risk times, so we really want to make sure safety is talked about when we're taking that step to leave," Fleet said.
The news of Talina Henderson's death last week hit Fleet hard. Henderson had just filed paperwork for a protective order a few days earlier. It hadn't yet been granted when Lexington Police say her husband, Stephon Henderson, shot her.
"I just had to pull over. It was just a wrenching story, and it's still unfolding. We're still hearing things about it. There's been a lot of conversations today amongst advocates, amongst different agencies, just checking in with each other because we take this very personal and we want to make a system that is better and more responsive to families," Fleet said.
Fleet wants people to be more aware of situations that could be happening around them and be in a position to support people who could be in an abusive relationship.
"Domestic and sexual violence prevention coalition has a survivor's handbook, so if you know someone, but you're like, that's a really scary thing to talk about, read up on it so that if you think somebody's behavior is differently, you're worried about their safety, or you see someone that you think might be abusive, how can I intervene safely?" she said.
Ultimately, Fleet said, the most important thing is to trust them.
"Survivors usually know what their risk level is like, so believe them. Don't step in and tell people what to do. Listen to them, ask them what's been going on, and build a plan around what their experience is, because it's so different case-to-case and family-to-family," she said.
If you need help, you can reach GreenHouse 17 24 hours a day at 1 (800) 544-2022.