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Published October 14, 2013, 09:35 PM

Domestic Abuse Awareness Month brings to light startling statistics

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - They are eye-opening numbers: 5,000 people in North Dakota say they were victims of domestic abuse in 2012. In Minnesota, you can more than double that number.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - They are eye-opening numbers. 5,000 people in North Dakota say they were victims of domestic abuse in 2012. In Minnesota, you can more than double that number. Across the nation, 30% of murders are directly related to violence in the home.

It is Domestic Abuse Awareness month. That's what experts say will end the violence: Education and awareness.

Daria Odegaard - Fargo’s Rape and Abuse Center: "People aren't born as batterers. They are not born as abusers. It's a learned behavior."

For some, the face of abuse is unfamiliar, but it can hide behind people we think we know best.

Educator Daria Odegaard has helped victims for over nine years; teaching women and men the facts.

Odegaard: "Nothing they did warranted that situation, and it was never their fault."

But for 14 Minnesota women last year, that was something they will never learn.

Some with faces which you might find familiar like Kira Trevino, Danielle Jelinek and Mandy Matula; all high-profile cases in which police believe their husbands or boyfriends played a role in their death.

Odegaard explains the abuse: The murder doesn't come out of nowhere.

Odegaard: "You start to kind of see those warning signs. You kind of start to see that oh, perhaps things on the surface level were being maintained to the point it didn't really raise too many suspicions."

She is speaking from experience because before coming to work for the Rape and Abuse Center in Fargo, she was a client herself.

She and her mother fled an abusive situation when Odegaard was just a child; a situation over 4,500 children are familiar with in North Dakota.

Odegaard: "They are absolutely living in a situation that is full of chaos. They are living in a situation in which perhaps they are also being harmed, as well."

In one year, 12 children in Minnesota were killed because of domestic abuse.

And just days ago, a toddler assaulted by a man he was familiar with, dying just hours later in front a father he'll never know.

A surprising number, domestic violence exceed $5.8 billion each year because of medical bills.

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