MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – The U.S Department of Justice estimates 1.3 million women and more than 800,000 men are victims of domestic violence every year.
It’s a sobering statistic that is impacting Tennessee especially hard– our state was ranked fourth in the country in domestic violence homicides.
Here, locally, in Wilson County, resources are limited– there’s no shelter for victims to take refuge.
A local pastor is hoping to change that with a cause in his mind and cross on his back. David Ashley is the physical education and strength and conditioning coach at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy
He goes by pastor of pump– a man, known for building biceps is now busy molding hearts.
He saw a need during domestic violence awareness month and decided to help. Instead of carrying on as a fitness coach, he saw a need and decided to instead, carry a wooden cross 50 miles across Wilson County to raise awareness and funds for Domestic Violence.
On the cross– each purple ribbon represents domestic violence victims– there are more than 3,000. Each black ribbon represents the victims who died in domestic violence-related homicides in Tennessee last year.
8:10:50 David Ashley, PE coach, strength& conditioning coach at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy
“If the community can’t take care of the oprest, who is going to do it,” Ashley asked. “It was honestly such an honor and blessing for me to be able to carry the cross for those who cant carry their cross.”
Years ago, Ashley struggled to carry his own cross– he too, was domestically abused.
“I had computers thrown at me, books thrown at me dishes, silverware,” Ashley said. “My pride, my ego wouldn’t let me admit to it. It really crushed me as a man.”
Now, he’s fighting for those who can’t fight back, raising money and awareness for Project Redemption, hoping to build a crisis center for victims of abuse in Wilson County.
“We have to stand up as a community as a church just as human beings and say enough, no more, Ashley said
Domestic violence makes up more than half of all the violent crimes handled by the Nashville-Davidson County District Attorney’s office.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Ashley and Cross Strength Ministries have committed to give 100% of all proceeds to building a domestic violence shelter and community response-center.