GREENSBORO, N.C, — It was winter 1981.
“He had abused me, broke my nose,” Marche Clarke said.
Clarke remembers grabbing her daughter and running to a neighbor’s house.
It was the last time her late husband had beaten her. It was also the most violent.
“I just saw the blood,” she said. “I saw the gun, and I knew that we needed to take flight.”
It was a cycle of abuse she lived through in silence for about 10 years mainly because she didn’t know where to get help.
“Nobody was having those conversations at that time,” Clarke said.
But today, Guilford County is moving forward with its plan to break that silence.
“We are taking proactive steps to really address and change the climate in our community around domestic violence,” said Christine Murray, a UNCG professor and member of the Guilford County Family Center committee.
This week, the Greensboro city council decided to chip in a quarter of a million dollars towards renovating the county’s new family justice center.
Law enforcement, victim’s service providers, and others will be under one roof to help men, women, and children who’ve been abused.
“Instead of having to go across town from resource to another, everybody’s there in the same place,” Murray said.
In 2013, Guilford County had 11 homicides related to domestic violence, the highest in the state.
“We get domestic violence calls daily,” said Sergeant Cheryl Nance.
Violence survivors such as Clarke hope others will have the courage to get out of with a space being built for them to share their stories.
“We really need this,” Clarke said. “We need it yesterday.”
The Guilford County Family Justice Center is expected to open within six to nine months.