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There could be one good thing that comes of all the attention Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice have brought to domestic violence: It may inspire some women to seek a way out of a violent relationship.

A local crisis center called A New Direction didn’t want WGN to show the exterior of their offices to protect the women who are seeking help. But, they did want their message to get out: They are here and ready to help.

Rita Ryan is a counselor and legal advocate at A New Direction. Statistically, she says, “One out of three and half American women will suffer some type of domestic violence in their life time.”

“We’re not just talking physical abuse, we’re talking emotional, verbal, financial, spiritual, abuse that can take many different forms,” Ryan said.

One of the hardest things she says is for a victim or a survivor to finally decide to get help. And Ryan should know, she is survivor of domestic violence herself.

“It was my children and that is the avenue that is the last straw for a lot of the women who tend to stay in these relationships,” she said.

Her board president at the nonprofit, Jessica McCrihan, explains why so many women have a hard time deciding to free themselves of the abuse: “Most of the women are citing reasons why they stayed as he told me he would kill my mother; he told me I’d never see my children again; he threatened to kill a pet; he was withholding my paycheck.”

So when the Ray Rice video surfaced of him knocking out his then finance, McCrihan saw an opportunity to save lives.

“Helping spread the awareness so the women know that they are not alone,” McCrihan said.

And for those watching that maybe suffering from abuse, “Once she’s ready, once she feels she can make this step, A New Direction will be here for her,” Ryan said.

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