GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — “I was probably living with domestic violence or abuse whether it be emotional, mental, and physical for about 20 years to be honest with you,” said Laura Mason of Grand Island.
At the time, Laura Mason says she didn’t realize she was a victim. She says she hid what was going on for years but during that difficult time, she kept a journal. She’s still shocked when she reads some of her entries.
“I looked at myself saying who is this woman. I don’t know this person, I felt sorry for her. There was anguish, desperation, shame,” said Mason.
Laura says she was silenced by her fear.
“There were times that I felt like calling the police but I did not because growing up and living on Grand Island my entire life I knew everyone,” said Mason.
One day she did call the police, but she ended up taking her then husband back.
According to the Family Justice Center, local and county police reports show that Grand Island has the most reported domestic violence cases in Erie County.
“It’s shocking to me I think that if you live on Grand Island it seems like such an ideal place, it’s so beautiful. It’s quiet, it’s calm. So obviously there’s something happening under the surface that we need to get to and take care of,” said Nate McMurray, Grand Island Town Supervisor.
The town is working with the Family Justice Center to open a private satellite location on the Island for victims of domestic violence.
“We have several churches that are discussing it with us right now,” said McMurray.
Mason says the Family Justice Center helped her end the cycle of domestic violence for good, after two decades of suffering.
“Knowing that if that system, if it would’ve been in place for me in the early 90’s or late 90’s I’m almost certain my life would be different,” said Mason.
The Town Supervisor is hopeful the satellite location will be up and running on Grand Island before the year is over.