City of Hattiesburg honors legacy of local domestic violence shelter

Larita Dewberry was killed in 2016 after attempting to leave an abusive relationship. Larita’s mom and five kids decided to use their tragedy to help others.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Turning tragedy into triumph that’s what a local family is doing in Hattiesburg.

Larita Dewberry was killed on July 9, 2016, after attempting to leave a domestically abusive relationship.

Three years later, Larita’s mom, Chandra Dewberry, and five kids decided to use their tragedy to help other victims. They launched the Larita’s House Domestic Abuse Foundation.

“We suffer in silence,” said Chandra. “And, we need to stop the silence and stop the violence and come together as a community and just stamp out this problem... That’s what it’s all about... just reaching out from our pain as opposed to waddling in it, as they say. We’ve decided to do something totally different.”

The Larita House is a domestic violence shelter servicing victims and helping men, women and children leave violent and abusive situations.

“We assist them in getting out,” Chandra said. “We teach them money management. We help them with housing. We help them find jobs, and we help them with counseling, and we connect them to ministries.”

Though it’s emotional having to recall the horror of her daughter’s murder, Chandra said the goal is to help prevent other victims from winding up in the same situation.

“Sometimes it’s almost like reliving it all over again,” Chandra said. “It feels good because we know that this woman or this man survived it. So, they get a chance to go to work, go to school, start life all over again where Larita didn’t have that opportunity.”

Since its opening, the Larita House has helped roughly 30 victims, but Chandra said they need to reach more people with information about its resources.

On July 5, Hattiesburg Ward 4 Councilman Dave Ware presented a resolution to the Dewberry family in honor of Larita.

“I felt it important that the city recognize the efforts of this family, the sacrifice, and also realize that, you know, domestic violence, domestic abuse occur in each and every sector of our community,” said Ware. “So, this is an opportunity for us to once again raise awareness about domestic violence.”

Larita’s House will also hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, July 9 at 10 am in Town Square Park to help raise funds for its mission.

For more information on the organization, click here.

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