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'She was not his to take': How to spot warning signs in an abusive relationship

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and it's critical to be aware that if you or someone you know is in a physically or emotionally toxic relationship, there are resources to help.

Posted Updated

Chris Lovingood
, WRAL reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it's critical to be aware that if you or someone you know is in a physically or emotionally toxic relationship, there are resources to help.

The tragic story of Tanajwa McMurray is an unfortunate reminder.

On Wednesday, Tasha McMurray was understandably distraught over the death of her daughter, a 31-year-old pregnant woman who was shot and killed in her Fayetteville home on Monday.

"This man took this joy, he had no right," Tasha said. "She was not his to take."

Police say 27-year-old Willie Moore is charged with Murder in Tanajwa's death. Her mother says she was 5-months pregnant with Moore's child, and police say he was her live-in boyfriend.

Tasha says there's more to the story.

"They had broke up, and she was trying to move on away from him and he just, he wasn't taking no for an answer."

Just last week, Fort Bragg soldier Alonzo Dargan Jr. was charged in the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Akeila Ware.

And in Sampson County, Carl Wiggins was charged months after his missing wife, Kiara Wiggins, was found dead in August.

InterAct of Wake County is an organization that helps women on their journey from abuse. Some people who might come to InterAct could be trying to escape an abusive relationship in an action that could mean the difference between life and death.

"Survivors are the experts in their own safety," said Josh Littlejohn with InterAct of Wake County.

Littlejohn to be on the lookout for several unusual behaviors if you're suspicious of something going on.

"A few of those red flags in domestic violence relationships are controlling behavior, jealousy, maybe quick involvement," Littlejohn said.

Littlejohn also said using physical force inside and outside of an argument is a big sign. Also, the responsibility in these toxic relationships is on the abuser.

"We often hear that question of 'why don't just leave?' Why don't they leave if they're being abused. We want to reframe that question to 'Why is that person abusing?'"

According to Littlejohn, Black women, and indigenous women, among other women of color, are experiencing domestic violence issues at a higher rate.

"If someone comes to you and says they're a victim of domestic violence, it's important to believe them and let them know you're there to support them." he said.

InterAct is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can speak with a crisis counselor at (919) 828-7740. If you're intersted in helping, volunteers can also look into ways to get involved with InterAct's work for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.​


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