Campaign to End Domestic Violence Begins In Dallas

It didn't look like 10,000 people showed up but those who did heard some compelling stories and messages.

By Mark Schnyder
|  Saturday, Mar 23, 2013  |  Updated 7:44 PM CDT
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Rally outside Dallas City Hall drew thousands to support a new cause.

Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News

Rally outside Dallas City Hall drew thousands to support a new cause.

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Vigil Remembers Victims of Domestic Violence

The city of Dallas held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to remember victims of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Rises During the Holidays

The police chiefs of Irving and Grand Prairie are raising awareness about domestic violence during the holidays and the work being done by Brighter Tomorrows, an emergency shelter for abused women and their children.
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If one is too many, what do you do about 13-thousand domestic violence cases a year in Dallas. This rally is supposed to be the beginning of the end of men abusing women.

"What happens is you start hitting and then you strangle and then somebody ends up dead," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.   "And that's why we've had a peak in our murders in Dallas. So we're here to say enough is enough."

Mayor Rawlings is looking to raise money for battered women's shelters, get tougher laws against abusers passed and spread the word Dallas isn't going to tolerate men beating women, through a major public relations campaign

Dallas Police Chief David Brown gave a disturbing update.

"We have about 400 people we're looking for to bring to justice [for domestic violence against women]," Chief Brown told the crowd.  "One message to those abusers, you can run but you can run but you can't hide. The city of Dallas is taking domestic violence to the highest level possible."

Some of the faces in the crowd are faces directly impacted by domestic violence. Johnnie "Queen" Kellum stayed with a man for 20 years who abused her but still said he loved her.

"Any man that hits a woman or uses manipulation or brainwashes you, absolutely that is not love," said Kellum.

Russ VanDeveerdonk told NBC 5, "I lost an older sister in 1988 to unusual circumstances and it was domestic violence."

Dez Bryant, the Dallas Cowboy who made headlines for hitting his own mother made a brief appearance at the rally.

"I made a mistake. I just want everybody to know it's not good to hit women."

In November, Bryant agreed to a year of anger management counseling as part of a deal that could lead to the dismissal of a family violence charge over the dispute with his mother.

The 90 minute rally ended with a repeat-after-the mayor-pledge for men to do the right thing.

"A man teaches his sons to respect women," said Mayor Rawlings with his arm around his son.   "A man teaches his sons to respect women," chanted back the crowd.

"And if you forget everything else, just be a man," said Rawlings.

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