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As domestic violence cases triple in Wilmington, community comes together for Take Back the Night rally

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:37 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on cases of domestic violence.

“There was a huge increase. Our numbers tripled in terms of shelter provided and people seeking services doubled,” said Tania Smith, court advocate Domestic Violence Shelter and Services.

The numbers statewide are staggering as well. According to records requests from NC Health News, 38 counties filed 24,760 reports involving domestic violence. In contrast, those same counties had 22,776 domestic violence reports in 2019.

After being canceled due to the pandemic last year, the Domestic Violence Shelter Take Back the Night March and Rally was held Thursday night at the Harrleson Center.

The theme this year was “We Are Enough.”

“The goal is to highlight how as a community we are on the right track and are valuable as we are to combat domestic violence. It will also hopefully resonate with survivors that attend that no matter what, they don’t have to strive to be different or change who they are to deserve healthy love,” said Smith.

Law enforcement, city leaders, and members of the community marched through downtown Wilmington on Thursday night. Many people brought signs, megaphones, and their walking shoes.

Kaylan Ganus, who attended the march, says, “It’s a beautiful thing to have so many people, but it’s also very scary at the same time because, you look around and realize how many people are affected by such a silent thing.”

There were guest speakers, music, and resources for victims of domestic violence. This was also a chance to say, “enough is enough” and to ask for help if you’re a victim of violence.

“Please encourage people to reach out when they need help, that’s the main thing,” says domestic violence investigator with the Wilmington Police Department Holt Wooddell.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence contact the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services.

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