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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has scheduled a news conference on Monday to focus on the issue of domestic violence and what needs to be done to protect its victims.

J.J. Smith of Rowlett agrees. He is launching a national program to do just that.

Smith has first-hand knowledge about domestic violence.

"When I was 10 years old, I witnessed my abusive father break into our apartment in the middle of the night," Smith recalled. "He shot and killed my mom and turned the gun on himself and committed suicide."

For years, he said he watched his mother suffer.

"I used to hide in the closet to escape, and then she would come and get me. She was bruised... clothing torn... tears," Smith said. "That made a real impression on me as a kid."

He said he feels badly for the children left behind this week after their mothers were killed in Dallas, allegedly at the hands of their partners.

Smith said he wants to help victims and survivors. So, he's launching a nationwide organization called Americans Ending Abuse. He wants tougher laws enacted to try and stop the abuser before he kills.

"If we really want to stop these deaths, these murders, and stop the injuries, we've got to make changes," he said. "We can't keep doing what we've been doing."

He believes society needs to deal more harshly with abusers including longer jail times for threats against the victims. And his organization wants to teach women to fight back through self-defense.

It s time to take a serious look and a pro-active approach," Smith said.

Dallas has seen a rash of domestic violence murders of women who have tried to save themselves, including Karen Smith who tried leaving, going to police, and getting protective orders.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings plans to hold a news conference Monday to discuss what the city and police plan to do to deal with these issues and stop the violence.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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