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Domestic violence summit looking for solutions in Milwaukee after mother, daughters murdered

Posted at 10:25 PM, Feb 19, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee community leaders look for new ways to stop domestic violence after two recent high-profile cases in two weeks. That includes the case of a mother and her two daughters who had been the subject of an AMBER Alert and were later found murdered.

Amarah "Jerica' Banks was strangled to death according to the Milwaukee Police Department along with her 4 and 5-year-old daughters.

The case had Damia Causey reliving her own domestic violence nightmare from twenty years earlier.

"He didn't say anything. He lunged and I fell on the bed. The choke was so violent that I couldn't even gasp for air. I was unable to scream. And I truly thought that was how I was going to die," said Causey.

In the last two weeks, Milwaukee has seen two violent cases of domestic abuse that have brought murder and attempted murder charges. On February 8th, Banks and her two children were murdered. Her ex-boyfriend, Arzel Ivery is now facing homicide charges. On February 14th, Milwaukee Police said Savannah Bailey's boyfriend poured gasoline on her and set her on fire. Then, left her two children outside in freezing temperatures. These cases brought community leaders with the health department, domestic violence support services, the District Attorney's office and Milwaukee Schools together at the Milwaukee Police Department Wednesday afternoon to search for solutions.

"We do have resources but they aren't always directed in the place for the right people and we should be asking ourselves why," said Mary Jo Meyers, director of Health and Human Services for Milwaukee County.

That focus moving forward is to get more resources to African American women. Places like the Asha Project, which specialize in helping African-Americans facing domestic abuse, say they have working on that issue in milwaukee for decades.

"Race matters, there is an issue of trusting programs, mainstream programs in particular," said Antonia Vann, director of the Asha Project, a domestic abuse program.

"The stigma, I think when we deal with abuse, is different. We are blamed for it," said Causey. "People in that situation are so vulnerable. They just need a lot of support."

Causey is our partner at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. You can read her full story in her own words here.

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