SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, prevention advocates are urging the community to not forget about the issue the other 11 months of the year.

Every minute that goes by, 20 women and men across the country will become victims of domestic violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Safe Shelter Savannah said they received close to 1,500 crisis calls last year. Meanwhile, South Carolina ranks in the top 10 worst states for domestic violence and has for almost two decades, according to the family justice center.

For those who have experienced it, they say it’s an issue that often is not talked about enough.

Ava said she was first exposed to domestic violence when she was just 11 years old. While sifting through stacks of photos and binders stuffed full of documents, Ava recalled numerous instances of verbal and physical abuse at home.

“It affects you the rest of your life,” she said. “I mean, you carry it with you.”

Eight years later, Ava said she continues to struggle with mental health because of it.

“They say, ‘oh they’re lying’ or ‘they’re just kids they’re making it up’ or different things like that,” she said. “And it’s really detrimental to the psyche of a child when it’s like constantly you’re being brainwashed.”

Ava said experiencing domestic violence can be isolating and she encourages people to share their story to help others and shine a light on the issue.

“There’s got to be countless other people dealing with this and it’s frustrating when people won’t listen or people won’t take it seriously,” she said. “If you sense that something is wrong, then something probably is. And if you’re staying in it because of the kids, do not.”

If you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation and needs help, click or tap here for a list of local and national resources.