GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – In honor of domestic violence awareness month, organizations across eastern North Carolina are reaching out to victims and trying to raise awareness of the issue.
Domestic violence has led to six homicides in the last year in Pitt County. Pitt County resident Latina Shelley runs Ladies of Purpose, an organization that’s goal is to provide permanent housing for domestic violence victims.
She said after years of physical and mental abuse, she considers herself is a domestic violence survivor, and offered advice to other victims of domestic violence.
“Remember your own self-worth,” said Shelley. “I think that I kind of lost my own identity in the midst of what I was going through, and to have a plan, if you plan to leave, have a plan before you go. Sometimes it can be dangerous to just up and leave the abuser.”
The Center for Family Violence Prevention is also reaching out to victims. The center offers court advocates and multiple types of counseling.
“A lot of people think of domestic violence as bruises, and cuts, and the physical violence, but I mean it goes over to financial, psychological, mental, verbal, emotional,” said Lauren Keranakis, community advocate at the center. “Domestic violence is not just physical violence”
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At Camp Lejeune, nearly 100 people came together Tuesday to combat domestic violence at the first ever Strides Against Domestic Violence 5K.
“There’s a lot of domestic violence in our local community and upon the installation,” said Lisa Eaffaldano, family advocacy program manager “We want to bring awareness to people to help them understand that this does not have to be an issue. This is something that we can prevent.”
Many of the runners were domestic violence survivors themselves, and several runners walked a relay in high heels to raise awareness for women’s issues.
Various counseling and victim advocacy services were at the event to provide information.
The first runner crossed the finish line in a little over 20 minutes.