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Woman's death spurs advocates for domestic violence victims

Posted July 30, 2015

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— As people gather in Franklinton on Thursday night to remember a woman who lived in fear of her ex-boyfriend before she was killed last weekend, advocates for domestic violence victims say her death is motivating them to work harder and protect more people.

"The mood in the office is very somber," said Monica Kearney, executive director of Safe Space, a Louisburg nonprofit that tries to help domestic violence victims and their children.

Kearney said she was neighbors with Tracy Williams, who wasn't able to escape an abusive relationship.

Williams was killed Sunday evening while she was at an ATM in the parking lot of a Food Lion on U.S. Highway 1 in Franklinton. Her former boyfriend, Garry A. Yarborough, 35, of 306 Yellowbell Court in Zebulon, is charged with first-degree murder.

"She exemplified for me what it means to say, 'Am I my brother's keeper?'" Kearney said of Williams.

Williams' family and friends said she took numerous steps to protect herself from Yarborough after they split up early this year, including buying a handgun, obtaining a concealed carry permit and seeking restraining orders in the courts.

Ensuring law enforcement serves protective orders is one of the challenges to those fighting domestic violence, Kearney said. Financial limitations are another – Safe Space is the only group in a five-county area to provide a shelter for abuse victims.

"We look at our system and say, 'What are the gaps?'" she said. "We can all take a seat at the table of prevention."

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  • Paul Jones Jul 31, 2015
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    You know what else is needed? Education so women can recognize what kind of men are violent before they get into that relationship. At the very least, educate them to get out early.

    It amazes me how some women just accept as if it's normal to have a man that roughs them up now and again.

    It's not normal to fight a lot. It's not normal to yell a lot. It's not normal to be punched in anger. Every couple I've ever known like that have divorced or worse, so just move on to another boyfriend until you find the right one.