There is a paternalistic scourge across these United States of America affecting not only our mothers, sisters and daughters but their families as well. That insidious scourge is domestic violence.
Recently in Clayton (which has the highest reports of domestic violence in Johnston County), a murder-suicide took place. According to news reports, the victim filed for a protective order earlier this year. However, she dropped the order because the husband threatened to sue for custody. This is not out of the norm.
Many women end up doing the same thing because they do not have money to hire an attorney, and Legal Aid does not take custody cases. So not only do 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence, but they are also victimized by what can be an insensitive justice system, lack of financial resources and fractured community support.
Resources are scarce, and services are disconnected. People cannot heal if social and legal structures are not equipped to address their needs.
Harbor, Inc., a shelter in Johnston County, assists women and children who have been battered and sexually assaulted. The organization serves as a bridge to meet those needs. Harbor is fighting the scourge. We need others in the battle.
Terence K. Leathers
Board member, Harbor, Inc.