Domestic violence survivors and their supporters ‘Take Back the Night’

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 31st annual Take Back the Night march shined a light on abuse that happens behind closed doors.

Thursday evening, several survivors and supporters gathered in downtown Wilmington to take back the night for domestic violence victims.

“A lot of people that are in domestic violence relationships feel alone,” said violence prevention specialist Jenna Young. “And that’s what we want them to know is that they’re not alone, there are people there to help.”

It’s an issue Detective Holt Wooddell said did not get better with the pandemic. Last year, Wooddell said the Wilmington Police received more than 3,000 domestic violence calls. This year’s numbers are just shy of 2,400 so far. That’s why Wooddell is grateful for events like Take Back the Night.

“Sometimes seeing events like this take place can help somebody take that next step and realize, hey, there are people there for me, and I need to get some help,” Wooddell explained.

With one in three women and one in five men in the U.S. experiencing domestic violence, it’s something many, including Shequana Pulliam are no stranger to.

Pulliam said towards the end of their relationship, her sister’s ex-boyfriend began to abuse her little sister.

In 2008, after they broke up and her sister got help and moved out, the ex-boyfriend ambushed Pulliam’s sister. He shot and killed her outside her home.

“It happened kind of right at the end of their relationship. And it went from a disagreement to an assault, to her being dead within a matter of months,” remembered Pulliam.

She said her family was shocked. They never believed it could happen to their family, especially with her sister being a member of law enforcement.

“Domestic violence does not have a preference,” Pulliam said. “It can happen to any person and any relationship.”

And according to Wooddell, domestic violence should be reported to authorities as soon as possible.

“We’d rather get you help early than find out that your life was taken early at the hands of a domestic violence aggressor.”

Here in New Hanover County, survivors can call 911 or Open Gate, Wilmington’s domestic violence shelter at 910-343-0703.

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