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Victims of domestic violence share stories of survival

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:51:09 AM EST   Updated On: Sep 19 2013 11:06:38 PM EDT
Domestic Violence Page

The city of Roanoke is leading the fight against domestic violence.

Southwest Virginia has seen some of the highest number of deaths due to domestic violence in the state in recent years.

WDBJ 7, along with city leaders and agencies, have teamed up to address the problem and to start the conversation of how to curb the violence.

Dozens of people gathered at the Roanoke Civic Center to hear some powerful and emotional stories from survivors of domestic violence.

One of those survivors is Chari Chamberlain.

"I think it's time that people wake up and not accept it, because this is not the way we are supposed to live," she said.

Chamberlain was shot and almost killed by her ex-husband in 2010.

"My ex-husband came in and attacked me where I worked and I walked out of that situation alive and from that moment on I knew god had a reasons for me to be alive that day."

Chamberlain is now sharing her story in hopes of saving others.

Roanoke City Police Chief Chris Perkins said people like Chamberlain are crucial pieces when it comes to addressing domestic violence in our area.

"I think that is almost what is needed to jolt people into should I do something," said Perkins. "You see something like this and the answer is yes you should do something."

Perkins said Thursday night's event is just one of the first steps in getting the community involved in this effort.

Thursday night gave people the chance to ask questions and to get the help they need before a situation turns violent.

"There's somebody out there that is either friends or family of someone who needs assistance and maybe they see something they can take back and help that person get out of the situation they're in before we have to get involved or something serious happens," said Perkins.

Chamberlain said there's power in numbers and while it's tough to revisit her past she knows it will make all the difference in the end.

"It's hard," she said. "It's been very hard preparing for this. I've had to put myself back in the situation almost every night trying to get my thoughts together. It helps when you start hearing other people's stories because you know you are not alone."

Roanoke City Councilman Sherman Lea hosted Thursday's event. He said the city's efforts are just beginning.