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What's Indianapolis' domestic violence problem like? 57 calls in the past 5 days

Posted at 5:59 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 12:57:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The story of Carleigh Hager's brutal beating shocked Indianapolis this week – but a review of IMPD records shows her case was far from unusual.

Between midnight and noon on Thursday alone, six calls were made to police about domestic violence situations. At least 57 had been made since Sunday.

Early Sunday morning, a woman reported that her husband had struck her in the face, splitting her lip, and then fled the scene.

Around 5:40 a.m. Monday, a woman called police saying her estranged husband had come to her home and awoken everyone in a fit of rage. She said he had a gun, but didn't use it.

Later Monday evening, police arrested a woman for battering her boyfriend.

On Tuesday, Marion County prosecutors charged 26-year-old Ryan Cameron with beating his girlfriend Carleigh Hager. A doctor's examination found she had bite marks all over her body and that it appeared Cameron had tried to rip her tongue out.

On Wednesday, police learned a married couple had gotten into an argument over a cellphone. The husband reportedly struck his wife several times in the shoulder and then left the scene.

Earlier in the day, a woman called police saying she'd been battered by the father of her children in a hospital room.

Below we've visualized just five days of domestic violence calls to Indianapolis police. We've omitted identifying information for the safety of those who may still be in abusive situations:

On Thursday, Lindsay Stawick, with the Domestic Violence Network, teamed up with the Indiana Youth Institute to spread the message that domestic violence starts early.

According to Stawick, an estimated 12 percent of high school girls and 8 percent of high school boys have experienced some kind of dating violence.

"I want adults in young people's lives to realize that it does happen, and to take it seriously," she said.

Stawick told a gym full of high schoolers about her own experience with abuse – the death of her friend, Heather Norris, who was killed in 2007.

"When I was in high school I had a really good friend, Heather Norris, and she was murdered by her boyfriend," Stawick said.

Norris was stabbed and dismembered by her boyfriend, Joshua Bean, who is now serving a 68-year prison sentence.

Looking back, Stawick says there were clear signs of a problem.

"Heather started to distance herself from her family and her friends. She was so funny and liked to make us laugh, and we definitely saw a personality change," Stawick said.

If a teen starts isolating, stops doing things they love, loses or gains weight, is irritable or constantly stressed – all of those things can be signs of dating violence. And abuse, which isn't always physical, can start with controlling text messages."

Stawick says the bottom line is that if you're concerned a friend could be experience violence, you should ask about it.

"It's just important to ask the question honestly, as simple and easy as that sounds," Stawick said. "When you see the signs, ask."

If you or someone you love are experience domestic violence, help is available. You can find resources online through the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or over the phone through their crisis line at 1-800-332-7385.