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Families Gather Together to Remember Victims of Domestic Violence

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WILKES-BARRE -- Along a table at Wilkes University, victims of domestic violence are remembered. Pictures and cards were on display to send a message about the lives lost.

Joe Garcia, the Deputy Chief of Police at Temple University was the keynote speaker at the "Empty Place at the Table" event held at Wilkes University.

For Garcia, domestic abuse is personal. It was a constant issue in his childhood home.

"I feel a lot of shame when I talk about it and I feel embarrassed at times to talk about it. The pride I feel is in the responses I get afterward, where there are women and some men who say, I'm going through something like this and I do need to get out. Then I'm able to help them do that," said Garcia.

Luzerne County ranks fifth for the most domestic violence fatalities in Pennsylvania since 2006. Parents, whose children were victims of domestic abuse, have suffered an enormous heartbreak. They try to speak awareness any way they can.

"My daughter was a victim of domestic violence in 2012. December 17, I don't want any parent or anyone to go through what my daughter went through," said Julie Lyons, the mother of a domestic violence victim.

"My daughter Rebeccah was shot in the head in 2009. So, every year, I've been trying to create awareness to stop domestic violence. For people that know that people need help. Call the domestic violence service center or victims resource center to get help," said Terry Renninger, father.

And to carry on his daughter's memory, Renninger sports buttons that came to him in a dream. They read, "Don't Hit Me" in an effort to stop the heinous actions of domestic violence.