United against Domestic Violence - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

United against Domestic Violence

October 1, 2002

Americus - A Southwest Georgia town vows to stop domestic violence."We have lobbyist at the state capital fighting for harsher punishments for domestic violators," said Angela Newkirk, Victim Assistance Program.

October 1st is the first day of National Domestic Violence Awareness month. And, Sumter County held a memorial for victims of this devastating crime. The county proclaimed October 1st Unity Day.

Dozens gathered at the courthouse in Americus to remember the thousands of women and children who die each year as a result of domestic violence. The family and friends victims, Shiela Freeman and Joanne Williams, lit candles in memorial to their lost loved ones. Freeman and Williams, both of Sumter County, were killed by their spouses.

Those who attended the ceremony placed a purple ribbon, the color of domestic violence month, on two hearts for Freeman and Williams.

"If she was still alive, my niece would tell other women to do anything to get out of their violent situation," said Nadine Pope, Freeman's Aunt. "If they stay in an abusive family, their children will grow up to be abusers too."

Sumter County is trying to start a domestic violence shelter, so victims won't have to travel to Albany for help. Right now, half of the murders under investigation in Sumter County are domestic violence cases.

Posted at 4:20 PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com