MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A local trauma expert says violence against women in the Twin Cities is up. In just the past few days, someone shot a woman in four times in north Minneapolis. In Uptown, man and woman are accused of beating a pregnant woman to death.

As busy as Haneefah King is these days running her Crystal Skin Spa, there’s a subject that stops her in her tracks.

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“Just even bringing this up, the emotions that are coming up over me, even fear is coming over me,” she said.

In 2016, while standing on her mother’s south Minneapolis porch, she was shot.

“You can say a bullet doesn’t have a name on it. I was on a different block, some people were shooting on the next block over and a ricochet hit me, unbelievable.”

King described the pain of being shot.

“It felt like a jolt of electricity just went through your body, it dropped me to my knees,” she said.

Her foot was shattered in 1,000 places, she said, but another kind of pain came with the injury, too.

“Lost sleep, didn’t want to go outside, there was a lot that became associated with being a victim of gun violence,” she said.

Haneefah’s sister, Jalilia Abdul-Brown, has now devoted her own career to treating girls and women who are violence victims. She is a violence prevention specialist.

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“If you would have tapped me three years ago and said, hey, you think in 2021 we are gonna have 300 women and girls under 45 shot, I would have told you, no,” she said.

She says she’s seen more girls joining gangs and carrying weapons themselves.

“I got girls who never thought about carrying a gun that are now carrying…to protect themselves,” Brown said.

She plans to arm them now – with knowledge – continuing anti-violence programs aimed at girls.

Meanwhile, her sister, Haneefah, plans to help other female victims as she heals herself.

“I’m choosing to march on and be strong, but I am so glad there’s things in place like what Jalilia is doing,” she said.

Thursday night, there will be an open meeting for women and girls who have been victims of violence to get support from the county, city and Shiloh Temple. It is open to female victims from 6-9 p.m. at Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis.

According to Hennepin Healthcare, domestic violence and sexual assault cases in the Twin Cities have nearly doubled since the start of this year, now averaging 83 cases a month.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield