More on: Domestic Abuse

Knoxville (WVLT) - Domestic violence is often called "the family secret."

And one Knox County judge says it's a continual struggle to make progress in the battle.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman introduces us to a Knoxville man who is a recovering domestic abuser.

"Most people are not born to mistreat the people they supposedly love," says Jo Terry from the Community Coalition on Violence.

But it happens, physical, emotional, verbal, it's all abuse.

"The toughest part in getting well is recognizing the problem and stopping the off-load of blame on someone else," says Knox County Judge Bill Swann.

Every year in Knox County alone there are more than 11,000 calls to 911 that are domestic, that's one call every 45 seconds.

"Will this problem always be with us, perhaps, but we're working on it," Judge Swann says.

Work like intervention classes, which are getting positive results. James Tate is living proof. "Tough step you know for most of us guys is admitting that we do have problems,"

"It's not a respector of education or color or culture," Terry says.

James is a 10-year recovering abuser. "But I'm able to distinguish when I'm starting to get upset at something, something's starting to bother me and talk myself through it."

He's also a peer facilitator, putting his experience and knowledge to work to help others, mostly men.

"95% of the time the primary perpetrator is the male," Terry says.

For those ready to take that first step to recovery, James spells it out in simple terms.

"Number one is programs that's out there. Number two, you've got to want to offer yourself and work with the programs."

In the end, it all comes back to choices.

"I don't think that we're real bad guys...we're guys that make bad choices," Tate says.

The "Men Stopping Violence Training" workshop wraps up Thursday at the convention center.

There is a 24-hour family violence help line at 521-6336. However, for a true crisis, call 911.