Domestic violence support groups alarmed by level of deadly violence

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Groups providing support for domestic violence victims are concerned about the level of deadly violence they have seen in recent years. Representatives from several agencies gathered Thursday night at Strauss Park in Grand Center to remember victims and raise awareness.

“Domestic violence is a very complex issue,” said Katie Dalton, executive director for Crime Victim Center.

Dalton said it’s difficult to point to one single contributing factor as a reason for the recent deadly violence. Dalton encourages the public to direct victims to available resources.

“If somebody says that they need help, take them seriously,” she said.

Agencies involved in Thursday’s gathering called the event, “shatter the silence/stop the violence.” Some advocates also rallied in support of the family of Rosie McCulley last month. She was murdered along with her son Kayden and daughter Kaylee.

“That was so tragic, I think that just shook everybody,” said Bran-Dee Jelks, program director with Diamond Diva Empowerment Foundation.

She also encourages the public to assist victims in need of help. “Let them know they’re in a safe place if they want to express or reach out for help,” she said.

Agencies offering support for victims include the Crime Victim Center, ALIVE, Journey Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, YWCA of Metro St. Louis, and the Diamond Diva Empowerment Foundation.

On the same night of Thursday’s memorial, another community group gathered outside the New Northside Missionary Baptist Church to raise awareness about the amount of violence witnessed just outside the church. A mother was shot and killed near the church last week and her 7-year-old daughter was wounded.

“Within a year, five people have died within 50 yards of this front door,” said church pastor Rev. Rodrick Burton.

He invited community members of all faiths to carry flowers to each of the 5 sites where shooting victims have been found. He invites the public to send cards of support to the church that will be delivered to victims’ families. The church will also be holding a prayer service each Thursday for the next month to raise awareness about recent violence.

“Life is precious and that this is too common, and it must change in our city,” Burton said. “We should not have to live this way and we don’t have to live this way.”

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