"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
The murder of a young Charlotte teacher and single mom… The conviction of a Panther's football player…now being appealed.
Once again the spotlight is shining on domestic violence.
These high profile cases capture our attention… But these crimes are far more prevalent than many of us may want to realize.
Last year in Mecklenburg County alone, there were over nine thousand cases reported to law enforcement.
And those are just the "reported" cases.
Experts say most abusers don't suddenly hurt someone with a random act of violence.
It often starts out with control…an undermining of spirit.
And victims often forgive their abusers…believing they will change.
Society can also be judgmental…believing the victim is partially to blame.
But in many cases these victims see no way out.
So what can you do?
Before you date someone new…check him or her out.
You can call your local Sheriff's Office to see if there's an arrest record.
If you are a parent, talk with your children about domestic violence.
Explain what it is…tell them about the warning signs.
Help them recognize a potentially dangerous relationship before it's too late.
And if you are a victim…there IS help available.
Don't wait until it's tragically too late.
Tell us what you think, SpeakOut@wbtv.com.
PHONE NUMBERS AND LINKS:
Safe Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter
24/7 Crisis Line 704-332-2513
National Domestic Violence Hotline