‘Love doesn’t hurt’: Dozens march through Wilmington to raise awareness for domestic violence

"No relationship that you're involved in should be painful, abusive or causing you stress."
Take Back the Night March and Rally in downtown Wilmington on October 13, 2022 (Photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 32nd annual Take Back the Night March and Rally was held on Thursday evening in Wilmington.

The night began with dozens of people marching and chanting through the streets of downtown Wilmington before they made their way around to the Harrelson Center for a rally.

“It really is an event to empower survivors, raise awareness on domestic violence, and share together as a community that we stand against domestic violence,” Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Inc. Court Advocate Kylie Wright said.

The event is hosted by Domestic Violence Shelter and Services Inc. Wright says this year’s theme “Capturing Hope,” says it all.

“I think domestic violence is something that can make folks feel so alone and so this event can be so powerful and recognizing there’s a community around them that supports them and that is here as a resource and ready to assist whenever they feel ready to reach out,” Wright said.

Shequana Pulliam lost her sister, Tarica Pulliam, to domestic violence in 2008.

Tarica was a single mother, working as a detention officer at the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office with dreams of becoming a deputy. After her first violent encounter with her then-boyfriend, she ended the relationship. During the assault, he threatened that if she ever pressed charges she would never see her daughter again. Tarica consulted with law enforcement and pressed charges including assault by strangulation and second-degree kidnapping.

On the morning of August 6, 2008, Tarica was leaving her apartment to go to work when she was ambushed and shot. Her boyfriend fled the scene and when he was later found by law enforcement, he took his own life.

“I truly believe that God doesn’t put anything more on you than what you can bare. In learning about what happened to my sister and how big of an issue domestic violence is, I’d heard about it but I didn’t really know about it until it actually hit home,” Shequana Pulliam said. “For me, I wanted to do something that would leave a legacy and carry on something to the community bigger than just she died to domestic violence.”

After Tarica’s death, Shequana held an uplifting book drive for the female inmates in the New Hanover County Jail because the inmates told Shequana how her sister uplifted them. Shequana went on to work on domestic violence cases in the district attorney’s office. Tonight, she was presented with the Ambassador of Hope Award. For anyone experiencing domestic violence, she encourages them to find the courage within themselves to do what they feel is best.

“If that means that right now is not the time to leave, understand that there are still things you can do to create safety and get your plan in order. Love doesn’t hurt. No relationship that you’re involved in should be painful, abusive or causing you stress,” Pulliam said. “There are different ways to reach out and seek help without leaving right away. Of course, we want you to leave, but we understand that sometimes that’s not the safest thing to do.”

For more information and resources for domestic violence, visit the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services website. 

Categories: Local, New Hanover, New Hanover, Top Stories