Domestic Violence Memorial Tree Lighting at CMPD Headquarters
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 65 people were killed this year because of domestic violence. Eight in Mecklenburg County. Chief Rodney Monroe, who also has lost a loved one to domestic violence, was on hand at the domestic violence memorial tree lighting at police headquarters on Wednesday.
So were survivors, like Julie Owens. She says, "I have an ex-husband who is actually in prison for attempted murder."
Owens is the regional director for the state's Council for Women. She wants victims to know there is help. "When victims are trying to leave, it's the most dangerous time. A lot of time we say just leave, just leave, but that's when they get hurt the most,” she explains.
Experts say 85% of domestic violence homicides happen when the victim tries to leave. They recommend having a safety plan in place before you try to go anywhere.
"You want to get together all your important papers, bank account numbers, have some money stashed away if possible,” explains Gaylene Macuska. She is also a survivor. Macuska was in an abusive marriage for 24 years. She says, "I wrote a good-bye letter to my parents because I figured the only way I was gonna out of the marriage was to die. Either he killed me or I was gonna commit suicide."
Macuska, Owens and the Chief all work to keep people safe. But sometimes taking the first step is up to the victim. You can call 1-800-799-SAFE. Owens says, "I always remember that because 799 is one less than 800."
For more information on domestic violence in North Carolina, go to www.nccadv.org