Rawlings: City still has long fight ahead to curb domestic violence

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 8:58 PM

DALLAS –– Aggravated assaults involving family violence have dipped nearly 6 percent compared to the same point last year, but there have still been 1,120 cases reported in Dallas in 2013. That number, says Mayor Mike Rawlings, is still too high. 

"It took years to make smoking not a cool thing. It took a long time to talk about drunk driving is not cool,” Rawlings said. “This is a culture thing like that and it's going to take decades."

News 8 spoke with a young woman on Tuesday who left a violent relationship just days ago.

”He kept saying, ‘I'm going to kill you’ and he kept saying it over and over,” she said. “’I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you.’"

Her ex-boyfriend stalked her for months. Fear made her stay.

"I was living in my car and had nowhere to go," she said. "I thought he was going to get out and look for me."

Like Karen Cox Smith, she called police, but she said not much happened. The young victim has asked News 8 not to identify her. 

Smith’s husband, Ferdinand Smith, was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Tuesday for shooting and killing her.

The young domestic violence victim says she feared for her life. She finally got help from Debra Nixon Bowles, who runs a domestic violence program and has helped rescue hundreds of victims.

“I am in the trenches every day do I get to see these victims. I get to hear the fear in their voices from their children, to their family and I mean it's really sad. In 2013 I don't see it getting any better,” Bowles said.

Bowles is frustrated more isn't being done to help the victims. It's an issue that Rawlings took on after hearing what Karen Smith endured.

"He was guilty of murder but terrorized his wife for years and that's what is so painful knowing that went on for those years,” Rawlings said.

In March, Rawlings held a rally for men to raise awareness. Last month, he renewed the battle against domestic violence, again enlisting police, the district attorney and the school district to battle against the culture of domestic violence. District Attorney Craig Watkins has joined Police Chief David Brown to identify high-risk offenders to keep them in jail longer. 

The school district will interrupt 20 of its halftime shows on Nov. 7 and 8 to ask young men to take a pledge against domestic violence.

He says he knows there's been no significant drop in cases this year, but says it's important that people are now talking more about it.

Email rlopez@wfaa.com

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