Public Safety

Domestic Violence marches pose grim reminder

File Photo: A large group participated in a march for domestic violence awareness at Trade and Tryon Streets.
File Photo: A large group participated in a march for domestic violence awareness at Trade and Tryon Streets. The Charlotte Observer

Advocates for domestic violence awareness will march on the Square in uptown Charlotte Thursday — a grim ritual they repeat every time someone is killed by an intimate partner.

It has been a familiar scene this year. It’s the third time the group of advocates has walked in the past six weeks, once for each time a woman was killed in what police say was a domestic-violence related homicide.

So far this year, police say, eight women have been slain by their husbands or boyfriends, double the total from last year and the highest total since 2010.

Sarah Acker, 53, the most recent victim, was killed at her northwest Charlotte home last week. Her boyfriend, who had been out of prison for two weeks, was charged with murder after police discovered him driving Acker’s car.

Among the marchers will be Assistant City Manager Ron Kimble, who has become a domestic violence advocate after his daughter, Jamie, was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2012.

Jamie Kimble’s ex-boyfriend, Luis Roberson Rodriguez, worked in the operations department at Arrowhead Stadium, where the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs play. After killing Kimble, Rodriguez committed suicide. Less than three months later, Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher also killed his girlfriend, then committed suicide. The killings focused negative attention on the NFL, which was criticized for not doing enough to combat domestic violence committed by players and team employees.

Kimble and his wife, Jan, started the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage shortly afterward, hoping to raise awareness about domestic violence and let victims know about potential resources. Ron Kimble said it was a new calling for his family and a way to honor his daughter’s memory.

“We’ll be in it for the rest of our lives,” Kimble said. “We’re going to fight to save as many people as we can.”

Since then, they’ve spoken before NFL teams, advocacy organizations and, last week, congressmen.

Last week, Kimble was invited to speak to congressmen in D.C. by Rep. Alma Adams, who is trying to line up support for a bill that would fund domestic violence education in schools.

And on Thursday, the Kimbles will be among dozens of people, holding signs and marching in silence, trying to send a message.

“We’re marching to raise awareness and to try to point out to victims the resources that are available to them,” Ron Kimble told the Observer. “We want to let them know that they’re in the greatest danger when they’re trying to leave a relationship, or when they’ve already left a relationship. That’s what happens when a victim summons up the strength to leave —the abuser realizes they’ve lost that power and control over that victim.”

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson

Domestic Violence Awareness March

The Domestic Violence Advocacy Council march takes place from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the Square at Trade & Tryon Streets in uptown Charlotte.