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Harnett County Hopes to Break The Ties that Bind and Kill

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HARNETT COUNTY — Every 15 seconds a woman in this country is beaten. Just this week a Harnett County woman lost her life at the hands of an abuser, according to police. The death is the fourth from a domestic fight in the rural county in just four months.

The scene is all too familiar to authorities. Violence between a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend escalates, and someone gets killed while the other goes to jail.

One battered woman who lived to tell her story is trying to break the cycle of violence for good.

She agreed to talk with WRAL if we wouldn't reveal her identity. We'll call her Jane.

Jane's husband beat her for almost two decades before she finally left him.

"It's the most difficult thing I've ever done and probably will do," Jane says. "It didn't happen in an instant and it didn't happen in a week."

Jane credits a strong support network with her decision. "Had it not been for the help of many, many people that could have been me [who died], and I feel blessed to be here today," Jane says.

Workers at places that shelter people from violence say more women like Jane are making the decision to leave their abusers because the state has taken a pro-active, aggressive approach to helping domestic violence victims.

"Because of the department administration, because of theGovernor's Crime Commission,there are funds available that allow us to have people that can help the people in our community who are going through this," explains Karen Jackson, director of the Sexual Assault Shelter.

Counties like Harnett have been able to use the money to create positions like domestic violence prosecutors, officers, and others whose sole responsibility is to stop the cycle of violence.

Shelter workers say one of their next goals is to help thesheriff's departmentcreate a domestic violence team.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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