Dozens Gathered On Utah State Capitol Steps To Remember Lives Lost To Domestic Violence
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition fields 40,000 crisis calls each year.
Officials told KSL 5 TV the need is great and more can be done.
“It’s a really hard thing to talk about. Sexual assault is a very common form of domestic violence. It’s a complicated situation,” Jenn Oxborrow, Executive Director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition said. “There’s a lot of shame and guilt for victims. People don’t often know where to turn. For decades it’s been viewed as a private family matter.”
A candle was placed on the Capitol steps to remember each of the 25 Utah domestic violence homicide victims from 2017.
“My sister Stacy was murdered October 28, 2016, in California by her husband,” Kellie Anderson said. “She was in the middle of trying to get a divorce from her abuser. He was making it very difficult for her.”
Anderson said Stacy was her only sibling. The two grew up in Salt Lake City. She said she misses her sister every day.
“The grief is real. I struggle each day. My parents feel lost,” Anderson said. “I feel angry that he didn’t value her life. And her poor children; they were ages eight and six at the time of her murder. Stacy was silenced through her 11 years of marriage.”
Surrounding the #whyididntreport outcry on social media, advocates at Tuesday’s vigil stressed the importance of asking the right questions.
“Why did she stay? Or why didn’t she report? Those are the wrong questions to ask,” Oxborrow told KSL 5. “This is a preventable public health issue.”
Oxborrow said victims do not need to go into a shelter to receive services. They can simply call and develop a safety plan over the phone.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with domestic violence, officials said trained professionals are waiting to help at 1-800-897-LINK and UDVC.org
“This is someone that you have loved, somebody who you have trusted and welcomed into your family,” Oxborrow continued. “Someone you share children with, a bank account with, a home, a life, hopes and dreams. This is so difficult. But there is help.”
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