More women are becoming victims of violence in Georgia, and those in Augusta are no exception.
Georgia is now one of the top 10 states in the number of women killed by men, according to an annual study released last month by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based group that tracks gun violence.
The study, titled "When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2008 Homicide Data," uses the most recent homicide data submitted to the FBI, which in this case was from two years ago.
Numbers show that in Georgia -- which moved from 15th to 10th place in a ranking of states -- 95 percent of women killed by men were attacked by someone they knew. Of those victims, 63 percent were wives of their killers.
Four women have been killed by men in Augusta this year.
Cheryl Carswell, the owner and counselor of Georgia Family Crisis Solutions in Martinez, said she has more women entering her program than ever. She blames the increase on the bad economy and the problems it causes within families.
"I'm sure it has to do with stress, but it does not justify it," Carswell said.
In tough times, men who can't, or won't, talk about their problems sometimes act out violently.
"They are more stressed and the less ability to communicate how they feel -- frustrated, confused, desperate, helpless, hopeless -- they are going to just communicate through violence because they don't know what else to do," Carswell said.
As a senior counselor at Safehomes of Augusta, Yasmin Thomas-Goodman said that most men who attack women learned their violent traits in the home or from a peer group as they grew up. Often, they didn't see any serious consequences for their actions.
"It's all about power and control," Thomas-Goodman said.
According to the study, the average age for a female Georgian homicide victim was 33. Most were black, and in those cases where weapons were used, a firearm -- usually a handgun -- was the weapon most frequently used, the study shows.
Carswell said the programs at her center teach men not to minimize, deny or blame others for what they've done. The main goal is to teach them to accept responsibility.
"We all choose our actions and behavior," she said.