Dozens of domestic violence victims honored in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dozens of victims of domestic violence were honored with a purple tree lighting in Greensboro.

Outside Greensboro City Hall Monday night, the community listened to survivors share their stories.

"When out of nowhere came an unsuspecting blow. I couldn't really make out what he was yelling because I was thinking, 'He actually hit me,'" said Lalani Reaves, a domestic violence survivor.

For many of them, the Guilford County Family Justice Center was a life-saving resource.

"At the core is really the voices of survivors. We must be held accountable to their stories, their experiences, and when they share those with us we must listen," said Catherine Johnson, director of Guilford County Family Justice Center.

Since the Family Justice Center opened in 2015, they have seen a 77 percent reduction in domestic violence homicides county wide and an 88 percent reduction in Greensboro.

Reaves was in an abusive relationship for four years and it was close to three years before she could openly talk about the pain she suffered.

"It does get better. You go through a nightmare when you first decide to leave, but it does get better and life is so much more peaceful on the other side," Reaves said.

Survivors hope coming forward will help others who are living in fear.

"Even though it may feel like there is nowhere to go, it may feel like this is the end for you. It's not. I am living proof of that," Reaves said.