Four decades strong, this is the longest running domestic violence group in Cortland

"Shine the Light on Domestic Violence" campaign

It was an idea born out of necessity and it took shape nearly four decades ago in the neighborhoods of Cortland.

"We need a service to provide help to women who are experiencing violence in their houses and homes," founder of what is now called Aid to Victims of Violence, Andrea Rankin said.

Rankin and others set out to help women stuck in abusive and violent relationships.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, police outside of New York City responded to more than 187,000 domestic violence incidents (187,710).

One in three women and one in four men in the U.S. have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

And on a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive about 21,000 calls, which is almost 15 calls per minute.

During the early days of forming her group, Rankin did it all, even rescuing women in the middle of the night.

"We'd be running out the back door when he'd be running in the front door with a gun. So, I did shelter people in my house," Rankin said.

Not only did she let victims and their children stay in her house, she also ran a hotline.

Now that hotline is the longest running one in Cortland and the service is part of the YWCA.

"These are people who are in living situations where they have no money, no job. Their abuser has controlled the finances. They often come with the clothes on their back and nothing else,"director of Aid to Victims of Violence, Linda Glover said.

They have a nine-bed facility and offer several services for women fleeing abusive relationships.

Unfortunately, Glover says there is more need for the service every year.

"There's no judgement from us. We're not going to tell you what you have to do. You're going to tell us what you want and we're going to find a way to help you get to that goal," Glover said.

To help women and their children out of violent relationships, giving them new hope.

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