MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO is talking about domestic violence this week, and the numbers may be hard to hear.

At least 19 Minnesota children lost their mothers to domestic violence in 2014.

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That is why a small office at North Memorial Medical Center is in existence. It is the headquarters for SafeJourney — a group who answers the call of local victims 24/7 and helps lead them to safety.

The 1960s conjure up memories for many. But for Michael Burke, it conjures up pain.

“Being afraid to be in your bed, that you get pulled out of your bed and kicked or hit,” Burke said.

He says those earlier years where brutal for him and for his mother.

“There wasn’t anybody to turn to. I remember when my mom was beaten blue, she didn’t have a path to go,” he said. “I mean, not a lot of people reported stuff like that.”

So at 18, he turned away from his father and lived in his car for eight months.

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“I think the last words were along the lines that, ‘You won’t amount to anything,’ and so he’ll wait for me to come crawling back when I don’t succeed,” Burke said. “I’ve never been back since, but that’s OK.”

He met someone who did treat him right, and it turns out she had also been abused by her father. They built a family and broke the cycle. They now fight domestic violence with SafeJourney.

“I always think back about my mom and wish that my mom had someone there,” Burke said.

He helps with SafeJourney’s fundraising. Burke and his wife are loyal volunteers because they are survivors.

“Today the kids that are supported, the moms that are supported, they have a choice,” Burke said. “They don’t have to wait till they graduate to get out, you know. There’s a support mechanism — SafeJourney is that.”

Whenever SafeJourney answers a call, they give victims an emergency kit with a secret cell phone and gift cards for gas and groceries.

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If you would like to help them with those kits, which cost about $100, or to find out more about what SafeJourney does, click here. And click here to visit WCCO’s Accomplish MN page.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield