For the first time ever, the state has released statistics on deaths caused by domestic violence. It's an alarming statewide number, and southeastern North Carolina has seen its share. According to the state, 131 people died in North Carolina from a domestic violence murder last year and two of those cases happened right here in our backyard. Out of the 131 domestic violence murders across the state in 2008, 99 of the victims were female and 32 were male; male offenders committed the majority of the crimes. Local domestic violence advocate, Renee McGill-Cox said these statistics prove the problem of domestic violence is real. “That's 131 too many and of course in New Hanover County we had two in ‘08, but it's just too many people who are dying." Locally, 62-year-old Barbara Dickenson died in June, four years after being shot by her husband. Then in August, 27-year-old detention officer Tarica Pulliam was shot outside her home. Her ex-boyfriend, who Pulliam had a protective order against, is believed to have killed her. He killed himself days later. McGill-Cox said what's even more alarming, only 8 out of 131 actually had protective orders against their offenders. Even though they don't always work, she says they're important to have. Filing a protective order or pressing charges against an abuser lowers the chance of continued abuse. Also, seeking help from family and friends or finding a local shelter can also help improve your chances of surviving domestic violence.
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