People speak out about domestic violence at "Love Shouldn't Hurt" panel discussion

By Patricia Martellotti - Reporter

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - People spoke about the "Love Shouldn't Hurt" panel discussion in Downtown Roanoke about domestic violence including one man who says he used to abuse his loved one.

Organized by Total Action for Progress, and other community groups, the goal is to raise awareness about domestic violence.

Speakers on the panel said one their main goals is to increase awareness of the many resources available in the Roanoke Valley.

"I think it's important that citizens know domestic violence is important to our council, domestic violence is evil, it seems to raise it's head every so often," said Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea, who lead the discussion.

The Mayor's presence inspired community members as well as workers in domestic violence programs to never give up hope.

"To continue to persevere, that the mayor and the city are dedicated to providing services for victims also for the perpetrators," said  Carol Stockton, Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

Levi Dent shard his experience in domestic violence. He said, "I was violent to my wife, I abused her, I lost my church, I got help."

Dent added, "domestic violence has to stop."

Mayor Lea explained why joining in a conversation with domestic violence resources is important to him, "We've had a lot of homicides in our cities last year, and many of them were domestic violence related, so it's an important issue we need to address. We're going to keep working, and doing what we can to let our citizens know that there is help."

Leaders of these domestic violence programs said the next step is for people to seek out all these services that are available to them.

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