Reporter Notebook: Inspiring, challenging time at candlelight vi - | WBTV Charlotte

Reporter Notebook: Inspiring, challenging time at candlelight vigil for domestic violence victims

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -

Domestic violence victims don't have to suffer in silence.

That was part of the inspirational and challenging message shared at the candlelight vigil held Tuesday night on the steps of the Rowan County Courthouse to bring attention and awareness of domestic violence.

I was honored to be able to take part in this service.

The candles and a somber ringing of a large bell honored the memory of sixty individuals who have died within the last year in North Carolina as a result of domestic violence.

The Family Crisis Council of Rowan County holds the service each year, honoring those who have died, and celebrating the survivors.

On Tuesday night local attorney Carrie Walters told her own courageous story of surviving domestic violence, and talked about how for many women, leaving such a relationship is not as easy as it would seem.

Walters said that she tried to leave the relationship several times, but finally left for good after asking her daughter if she missed her father. Her daughter said she didn’t miss her father if it meant he would hit her again.

Walters is happily married now, her daughters are both in college and she has a 10-month-old grandchild.

China Grove Police Chief Andrew Deal spoke about domestic violence from the law enforcement side, explaining how he often encountered the children involved in such situations and how they had "the thousand yard stare."

Chief Deal used his remarks to encourage victims to seek help from available resources like law enforcement, the Rowan District Attorney's Office, and the Family Crisis Council.

In 2015, the Family Crisis Council served nearly 2,800 clients. 86 women and 112 children received help through the battered women’s shelter. There were 760 calls received in the agency’s family crisis 24-hour hotline. 

In her story about the vigil, Salisbury Post reporter Shavonne Walker wrote powerfully about her conversation with a domestic violence survivor:

It took nearly 15 years for Rowan County resident Chariel Dye to become comfortable in her own skin and exude confidence. She was beaten physically and emotionally for the six years she was married. Her ex-husband drank a lot, and the first time he was violent with her, she was taken aback.

Her husband would apologize, buy her expensive handbags, shoes and other gifts. She’d forgive him, but the cycle would continue.

She never witnessed domestic abuse growing up, and when her mother became ill, Dye decided she couldn’t continue.

Emotionally she was depleted. She gave her husband “another chance” for the sake of her marriage.

“It’s a power thing,” she said.

“I began to fight back physically because I couldn’t fight back emotionally,” Dye said.

She got out of the marriage and 15 years later is finally in a place where she’s happy and confident.

In Rowan County within the last year there was one death linked to domestic violence.  Pfeiffer University student Talisha Crowder was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend, Brandon Hawkins, in January.

Hawkins is in jail without bond awaiting trial.

The Family Crisis Council is a Rowan County United Way partner. For more information about Family Crisis Council of Rowan County, visit www.familycrisiscouncil.org or call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 704-636-4718.

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