COLUMBUS (WCMH)- The Luther Social Services (LSS) CHOICES program in Franklin County offers resources for domestic violence victims, but often, victims have a hard time asking for help.

Angelique Bowers said that as a survivor, she remembers that dark time in her life. She struggled to know when to end her relationship, one that once made her so happy. She said it took her seven years to decide enough was enough.

“I was 20-years-old and 27 when I left my partner at the time,” Bowers said.

The difference was that at 20, she didn’t know about the resources offered in Franklin County. She said she would be told to call the police or take it to court.

“I was unaware of domestic violence,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was.”

That’s until things got very dark.

“Either I was going to take his life, or I was going to take my life,” Bowers admits.

Though she’s now away from the situation, happily married, and raising her children, she wants to be a voice for the voiceless.

Bowers encourages others to reach out to LSS CHOICES and ask for help. The program can help abuse victims leave the situation safely, providing shelter, housing, help with children, and other resources.

“If someone is dealing with the anxiety, depression, PTSD, we are going to work with that individual,” said Lilliana Howard, director of Clinical and Supportive Services for LSS CHOICES.

Howard said since the start of the pandemic, the program has experienced a 17 percent increase in calls from victims but fears there are many more out there.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the 24-hour crisis line at 614-224-HOME (4663). For more about LSS CHOICES, click here.