4 murders, all domestic-related: What city leaders are doing to help

- There have been four domestic-related homicides in Charlotte this year, and today, a panel of victims and advocates met to share their personal stories of abuse, and what they're doing to be a part of the solution.

“Kicked. I've been punched in my face. I've been thrown out of my house with no clothes on. I've had my face gashed open behind my ear. I've had my cheek bone out to here,” said Dr. Barbara Dyer, a domestic violence survivor.

The physical scars from 20 years of domestic violence are gone, but Dr. Dyer remembers the abuse vividly.

“This is the face of a survivor,” she said, and she wants others going through domestic violence to get out.

“Girls, it's not OK. You are important.”

“You don't want to wait until the third time that you are physically attacked or abused or taken advantage of in some way to say ‘this is an issue, this is a concern,” said Deborah Frank, another domestic violence survivor. 

These women are hoping they can reach someone who might think it'll never happen again with their stories. 

One of Charlotte’s four domestic-related homicides was that of Brittany White. Her husband Jonathan Bennett killed her on January 11, then later ambushed CMPD officers, hitting officer Casey Shue with a bullet. White had mentioned before that Jonathan Bennett had strangled her. 

The common thread for numerous homicides to start 2018? Domestic violence.

Which is why CMPD is calling in experts from California. The training institute on strangulation prevention will teach officers how to better deal with domestic violence cases and put more offenders behind bars.

"If we put these folks in prison and we know they're committing the most violent, heinous acts possible, we'll save lives," said Sgt. Craig Varnum, CMPD's Domestic Violence Unit Supervisor. 

Leaders hope this education will help make the family justice center, which supports victims of violence a reality in Charlotte.

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