Woman's death spurs advocates for domestic violence victims
Posted July 30, 2015
Franklinton, N.C. — 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."