FAYETTEVILLE — Adult victims of domestic violence are scarred inside and out by their experiences of abuse, and so are their children.
The Women's Center of Fayetteville is trying to raise awareness about the young, silent victims who often grow up to perpetuate the cycle of violence.
In the next few months, the Women's Center will be putting up billboards around Cumberland County.
The approach is designed to remind everyone of the damage that can be done to a child who witnesses domestic abuse.
Children carry the scars of domestic violence for their whole lives, scars that make them more likely to become abusers or abused.
Statistics show sons of the most violent parents are 1,000 times more likely to become wife-beaters.
While the numbers are not as staggering, many daughters suffer too.
"If the young girl grew up seeing her mother being abused, then it's natural that she feels this is her role," says Sheila Shook, of The Care Center. "Quite often they find spouses that are abusive."
During Domestic Violence Month, several Cumberland County agencies are teaming up to try and save the children.
Even if they are never hit, experts say witnessing violence is still child abuse.
The agencies hope billboards depicting frightened children will encourage the private sector to take an active role in helping abused women seek help for themselves and their children.
Sharon Scott with Child Protective Services says "it's just important to remind them, be supportive of them and be ready to act with them when they are ready to take that step to stop the violence."
Experts say if you know of someone who is being abused, ask direct questions gently and don't rush to provide solutions.