Protected between two police cars — lights flashing — about 50 people marched in the Time Out Inc. annual walk to end domestic violence from Expedition Church to the intersection of Highways 260/87 and back on Oct. 9.
Wearing purple glow-in-the-dark necklaces and carrying signs asking for an end to the senseless violence, men, women, children and even dogs turned out to remind Rim Country residents domestic violence tears at the fabric of every community.
Before the walk, speakers talked about the terrible toll of the most common violent crime in America. Every year, an estimated 1.3 million women are victimized by intimate partners, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Program speakers included the mother of Kaity Sudberry, an Arizona teenager shot by her boyfriend just a couple of months before she graduated from high school. Her boyfriend had stalked and threatened her repeatedly, but the laws offered little protection. He finally killed her to the horror of her family, who said they could get no official response or protection despite the wealth of warning signs.
Bobbi, Kaity’s mother, became a domestic violence activist and played a key role in convincing the Arizona Legislature to at least extend to people in dating relationships the same protections the law affords to people who are married or living together. The state still has no “red flag” law that would allow police to take away weapons from people who threaten violence against romantic partners and others, however.
Kaity’s family started a foundation called Kaity’s Way to educate teens and adults on:
- The pattern of abuse in a dating relationship
- What makes up a healthy relationship
- What the law named after their daughter does to help those in a dating relationship
- Expose the red flags (warning signs) of a relationship
- How to safely exit a relationship
- What bystanders can do
Edna Welsheimer, CEO of Time Out, recognized many of the dignitaries who attended the event, including Laura Guild from the Division of Aging and Adult Services (part of the Department of Economic Security); two representatives from the Consulate General of Mexico’s Phoenix office, Lilian Cordova Vasquez and Irasema Lizabeth Carrasco Ojeda; and Doreen Nicholas from the Arizona Coalition, an organization that helps shelters with legal issues.
For the first time in seven years, a town mayor joined the ranks of the marchers.
“I’ve never had a mayor march with me before,” said Welsheimer. “Mayor, you’re my hero.”
Mayor Tom Morrissey marched “to let the town know there is a resource out there.”
He said during his time at both the U.S. Marshals Service and Arizona’s Department of Economic Security, he saw firsthand the damage domestic violence causes.
“When someone attacks someone they love that is just wrong,” he said. “Nobody should lose a child. People need to know it’s an honor to be here.”
Joining Morrissey were Payson’s Police Chief Ron Tischer and Councilor Steve Smith.
Smith serves on Time Out’s board. For the past year, he and the board have run a capital campaign to replace the aging, decrepit, leaking 30-year-old shelter. Two fundraising events held this year have raised more than $300,000 toward a $500,000 goal.
“Time Out is one of the town’s essential services,” said Smith. “We have this wonderful place where we open our arms to help and all of a sudden it makes our town better.”
In closing, Welsheimer read an excerpt from the poem, “Remember My Name,” written in 1995 by Kimberly A. Collins so that, “we will never forget the names of the lives of those lost to domestic violence.”
My story must be told
Must remain in conscious memory
So my daughters won’t cry my tears
Or follow my tortured legacy.
Lovin’ is a tricky thing
If it doesn’t come from a healthy place,
If Lovin’ Doesn’t FIRST practice on self it will act like a stray bullet not caring what it hits
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