Her daughter has been missing for nearly six months and is presumed dead, but Martha Hollis said Camisha lives on in her heart.

"She's right here, she never left," Hollis said tapping her hand against her chest as she marched with others through downtown Omaha Tuesday evening to raise awareness about domestic violence.

"A lot of us go through this," said Hollis, herself a survivor of domestic violence. "We don't have to. "

About 50 people participated in the event, which included a march from Douglas County Corrections to the county courthouse, where a rally took place.

Deb Rockwood, also a survivor of domestic violence, said the message that's most important is that help is available.

"It took me a long time to realize there was help out there," she said. Others need not wait so many years. Some of that help is free, too, Rockwood said, noting the services available through the Women's Center for Advancement.

Beth Abramson, an Omaha police officer in the domestic violence unit, said her work reminds her daily that the problem spans society.

"It is pervasive across all socioeconomic strata," Abramson said. "There are no boundaries."

Speakers at the rally ticked off the reasons people fear leaving abusive relationships: the abuser threatens their lives or their children; they worry about custody of the kids; leaving might jeopardize their ability to get to work or put food on the table.

"Victims of abuse need a soft place to land in a hardened world," said Heather Duhachek of Generation Hope Family Counseling & Consulting. Duhachek also is a survivor of domestic violence.

The march was hosted by Generation Hope. Also participating was the Bikers Against Child Abuse group and Heartland Family Services. 

Some people survive domestic violence; others don't, said Martha Hollis. But one thing is clear: stepping away from the fight is not an option.

"We have to help," she said. "That's why I'm here." 

Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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