Fayetteville community host 'Remember My Name' vigil to honor those lost to domestic violence

ByMonique John WTVD logo
Friday, October 7, 2022
'Remember My Name' vigil honors those lost to domestic violence
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Members of the Fayetteville community paid tribute Thursday to lives lost to domestic violence in Festival Park at the annual "Remember My Name" Vigil.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Members of the Fayetteville community paid tribute Thursday to lives lost to domestic violence in Festival Park at the annual "Remember My Name" Vigil.

The vigil is took place in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

At the event, the names of each person killed by domestic violence in North Carolina since 2021 was read aloud. Organizers hope it will push anyone living in an abusive relationship to walk away.

Experts say domestic violence is a longstanding issue that effects people from all backgrounds. However, the strains of COVID and being in lockdown made it even worse.

"Anytime a victim is isolated, a victim of domestic violence is isolated from other people, that is the most dangerous time for them. And then you put on top of that, you put everything that was going on that put all of our lives in disarray," said Bettye Renee Carter, a victim's witness coordinator for Cumberland County District Attorney's office.

The mounting issue can be seen in the statistics. The State Department of Administration's Council for Women and Youth Involvement found about 60,000 people were offered support for domestic violence from 2018 to 2019. That number ballooned to nearly 76,000 people from 2021 to 2022.

Survivors and experts say the moment victims try to leave their abusers is when they're most likely to be killed. That's why organizers say community events like the "Remember My Name" are so treasured.

"I think it's a wonderful way for the friends and family of those who have been murdered by domestic violence to be able to come together to share an experience that they can't often share with anybody else," Carter said.

Stephanie Williams is a proud survivor, she shared her story in hopes of saving a life. In 2018, her abusive boyfriend of only six months attempted to kill her. He assaulted her and stabbed her while she was pregnant in their home.

"He said that the only reason he's letting me live is because I'm going to have to live with the aftermath," Williams said.

The abuser was ultimately killed in a standoff with the police when they came to rescue her. Now a mother of a three-year-old, Williams has been thriving in the years since. She hopes sharing her story will give people a better understanding of why its so hard-and even deadly-to leave an abuser.

"That's what a lot of people don't understand when they say, oh, well why did you stay? Why did you put up with that? Because when a person is in a domestic violence relationship and they try to leave, even if they leave that person is going to be looking for them," Williams added.

A host of organizations and government agencies collaborated to organize the vigil including Cumberland County's District and Superior Court, the CARE Center, Legal Aid and Fayetteville police. Anyone experiencing domestic violence is encouraged to reach out to these agencies if they need help getting to safety.