My last post talked about how much I loved that everyday is different. Yesterday, however, was not one of those days. I was interviewing a woman for an upcoming story, when my phone rang and it was our crime beat reporter, Brie Handgraaf. I missed her call and quickly received a text, ‘shooting at westridge grill’. I hopped into the car and headed over to the site. I do not like covering homicides; there is simply no other way to say it. I’m not one of those photographers who get a rush from covering car accidents, homicides, or the like. I hate having to be there, feeling like an intruder, while constantly reminding myself that someone has to document what has happened, someone has to witness.
The shooting is being investigated as a domestic violence incident. Domestic violence is an undeniable issue in our community, and one that cannot be ignored or swept under the rug. It is important for men and women to know that they don’t have to be trapped in these abusive situations, and that there is a way out. My Sister’s House has been in invaluable partner in helping women escape from abusive relationships and they a good place to start. Their number is 462-4366.
I was blessed to be raised in a family that taught me healthy relationship ideals. My siblings and I were always taught that no one-absolutely no one-has the right to hurt us. We were always told that if a person hits you once, chances are they will hit you again, and you don’t give them the chance, you just leave. But one of the things that my family taught me is that they will always be there, no matter what. If I make a bad decision, if I ignored their advice, I knew that I could always count on them for support, and I cannot even begin to explain how important that is.
It is incredibly important for those trying to escape abusive situations that they have a support group waiting for them, someone who will never tell them ‘I told you so’, ‘I tried to warn you’, or ‘you should’ve listened to me in the first place’. They need open arms and acceptance. They need to know that they are worth something. The biggest thing that an abuser can take away from their significant other is their sense of worth. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares for you, and they don’t want to see you in an abusive situation, can help someone begin the process of escaping. Every woman or man is important to someone, and it is crucial that they know that.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you know if you feel they are in danger. Always remind your loved ones that you are there for them through thick and thin. Cynthia Joyner was a loved woman by many in our community, and she will be greatly missed. Let us reach out to one another in hopes of avoiding another unnecessary death.