Victims of abuse have no place to go in southern Dallas

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:31 PM

DALLAS — It’s an all-too-familiar scene — women and children beaten or killed at the hands of a person who is supposed to love them.

"It is taking a toll in our community, and I hope they hear my voice and hear it clearly," said Debra Nixon Bowles, who is on a mission.

“We are telling women to leave in the southern sector, but where do they go when they get to me? We have no place to put them," she said.

Bowles runs Women Called Moses, a program to help the victims of domestic violence. She gets an average of 50 calls a day, but Bowles has nowhere to put them.

"A lot of times we are waiting on police and they don't get there in a timely manner," she said. "We have to take it in our hands and put the victim in our own vehicle."

Some of the highest profile cases of domestic violence this year have been in southern Dallas County, but there are no shelters south of Interstate 30.

Bowles said she has begged politicians, business leaders and churches to help build a shelter.

“I will be honest with you: It's like they are not concerned," she said.

So News 8 went to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who has made domestic violence his No. 1 cause. He said he's embarrassed that more hasn't been done on this issue.

"We spend millions of dollars for our art complex and for wonderful things for this city, but we've got to take care of this basic need for public safety."

And that's where former Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens player Chris Johnson and his wife Mioshi are stepping in.

"We are not just going to stand by and watch this happen forever," he said.

Johnson's sister, Jennifer, was murdered by her estranged boyfriend. She was 33 years old.

"After the situation happened with my sister, I as a person and as a man... I have to step up as a man," Johnson said.

And by "stepping up," he means raising awareness — and money — to build a shelter in southern Dallas County.

He said he didn't understand the magnitude of domestic violence until his sister was murdered. "I never knew it was like that before my sister passed," Johnson said. "I wouldn't pay attention like that."

"It's so sad to see those women feel like they don't have anywhere to go and no one they can trust when something like that is going on in their lives," Mioshi Johnson added.

The Johnsons and Debra Bowles said they are tired of seeing this kind of violence on the news. They hope that by speaking out, they will save the lives of many.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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