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Vigils Across N.C. Bring Domestic Violence To Spotlight

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Several vigils across the state put a spotlight on domestic violence Friday.

Across the state, domestic violence support groups made their sobering point. At one vigil, a bell rang for each of the 21 domestic violence-related murders in North Carolina so far this year.

Just last month, police said a man shot his girlfriend at a Raleigh hotel before turning the gun on himself. In another case, just a few days apart, police said the estranged husband of Dujuana Massenburg chased her down in his car and then beat her to death.

"I was able to get out of my situation, but for people like her, and others that have died because of domestic violence, they don't have the opportunity to stand here," said Malessia Godwin, a survivor of domestic abuse.

Survivors and supporters made emotional pleas for more help, but admit stronger laws are not the only answer.

"Just writing law isn't going to solve the problem,' said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake County. "We need laws for what happens after domestic violence -- the punishment portion."

Last session, lawmakers wrote about a dozen new laws related to domestic violence. One bill currently sitting in the state Senate would allow domestic violence victims to get a temporary permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Some counselors say the proposed bill would only make the problem worse. They say funding is what is really needed.

"We need a lot invested in programs that help ramp up prevention," Ross said.

The state will invest millions in programs to educate law enforcement officers and to treat abusers while they are behind bars.

Ten of the 21 murders that have happened across the state in 2005 occurred in May. In 19 cases, the victim was a female; 14 were shot and five were beaten.


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