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Oct 26, 2012 7:08 PM by Andy Koen

Calls to domestic violence hotline surged after recent homicide

Neighbors set candles and teddy bears outside the door of Karen Mamo's apartment on N. Chestnut Street. It was here on Monday night that police say her husband Louis Mamo shot his wife in the head after an argument. He was arrested and charged with 2nd Degree Murder.

At TESSA, the domestic violence shelter for women in El Paso and Teller Counties, cases like this are watched closely.

"An incident like this really drives home how lethal domestic violence can be," said Interim Executive Director Janet Kerr.

She says there tends to be a spike in calls to their crisis hotline following high-profile abuse cases.

"Interestingly, it's not always just victims themselves who are calling but people in the community who are worried about someone they love and care about," Kerr said.

She and the other staff members want women in our community to know that they can come to TESSA for help at any time.

Domestic abuse rarely begins as physical violence. Rather, it's words and emotions that an abuser uses to exert control over his or her victim.

"If they're controlling of money, if they're controlling about where someone goes, how they spend their time, with whom they spend their time, what they wear whether they wear make up or not, those are all things to be aware of," Kerr explained.

She says it's critical to get help if you recognize any of those warning signs. Kerr also stressed that anything that's shared with counselors here is kept completely confidential.

The TESSA crisis hotline number is 633-3819. It's available 24 hours a day.

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