Harris Verdict Highlights Domestic Violence - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/13/03

Harris Verdict Highlights Domestic Violence

Supported on either sides, Clara Harris stood motionless as the judge revealed whether the jury thought she was guilty of murder.

"The answer; we do," she said.

She had called it an accident, running over her husband three times after catching him with a lover. The case drew national attention, turning domestic violence on it's head. The woman the aggressor, the man the victim.

"It's tragic, it happens all the time. It happens to women and men constantly, and so I think its just a bigger deal; because it happened to a man," said Domestic Violence Educator Hatie Heiner. At Women's Protective Services, she teaches the public about violence in the home. She encounters disbelief with the subject of men as victims.

"Every time I give a presentation and say men are victims as well, there's always someone that's just snickering in the background, like, 'No way, it can't happen,' but obviously it can," she said.

Texas spent over $40 million last year combating family violence. In Lubbock, Women's Protective Services assisted nearly 4,000 women in the 12 counties surrounding the hub city. A massive expenditure of resources battling an issue that garners attention only in its extremes.

"Oh definitely, no one wants to talk," said Heiner. "People don't want to help their neighbor, because they believe that what happens behind their closed doors, that's their family's business," she said.

As the country waits to hear Harris' sentence, social workers implore neighbors not to wait when they suspect trouble next door.

"You do need to make it your business, and people need to get out there and offer a helping hand, because someone's life is in danger," said Heiner.

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