GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Pitt County Domestic Violence Network hosted their annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month candlelight vigil at the Pitt County Courthouse Wednesday night.
DeCora Mealing shared her very personal experience.
“As a child I grew up in my household with parents and with siblings,” said Mealing. “In the walls of my house my parents would fight and argue due to drug use.”
From an early age Mealing knew what domestic violence was.
Her parents ultimately stopped fighting but her relationships as an adult suffered similar consequences.
Mealing said, “I slowly stopped calling my friends I slowly stopped hanging out with them I began to just solely spend time with him. I thought it was cute. I thought he just loved me.”
At nineteen years old, Mealing dated a man who took control of her life.
“My brothers and my sisters couldn’t stand him,” Mealing said. “They started to see a change in me that I was no longer the happy go lucky girl that they knew.”
Mealing stayed in that abusive relationship until she couldn’t take it anymore. She packed up and moved to Georgia to get away.
It was in Georgia she met a different man; one that promised to take care of her. Several months in it started to change.
“He began yelling and cursing at me, and telling me that if I even thought to kick him out he was going to come back and he was going to burn my apartment up,” Mealing explained.
Mealing moved out and requested a restraining order but that didn’t stop him.
“He would drive by my house and rev his engine to let me know he was there,” she said.
Her case made its way through the courts, ultimately leading her to today.
Mealing said, “Today, I stand here a proud survivor because on October 9th of 2017, in this very court room, my ex was sentenced and sent to jail.”
The vigil’s theme was “Breaking the Silence…Once Again,” which was meant to emphasize the community’s role in ending domestic violence.
Since the year 2000, there have been almost 50 domestic violence homicides in Pitt County.