Memorial Wall

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This Memorial Wall is our tributes to those who have died as a result of child abuse, domestic violence, rape, religious abuse, or other types of abuse. Some of these people we knew personally, others we only heard of. Abuse is not a theoretical concept, it happens to real people, and costs lives. It's important to honor those we lost to abuse by telling their stories, so that the secret that killed them does not remain secret, and so that other lives might be saved, as a result of increased awareness.
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July 18th:
Meredith Jessie and Mark Weekly
died on July 18th, 2015

6yo Meredith and her 50yo grandpa were killed on or around July 18th, 2015. "She was a little tomboy," the girl's teacher said. "She would dress like a girl, but she was a tough girl." According to the police and relatives, Meredith was "a handful", kept getting in trouble with mom, and the grandpa loved his granddaughter. Meredith's mom was indicted in their deaths, though claimed self-defense. "The question is," said the police detective investigating the case, "did (Meredith) first witness the vicious murder of her grandfather…"


Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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Jeffrey Dryden
died on July 18th, 2010

Early in the morning of July 18th in 2010, Jeffrey Dryden returned home after socialising with his twin brother. Within minutes, he was dead, stabbed in the neck by his girlfriend. She was arrested and charged with his second-degree murder. Over time details emerged that Jeff had been living with verbal and physical abuse...had been the male target of a violent female abuser.


Posted by Jane on June 14th, 2018
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July 19th:
Swapnil Sonawane
died on July 19th, 2016

15yo Swapnil from India has been dating a girl from a different caste since they were in 7th grade. On July 18th, Swapnil's first day of college, the girl's family discovered their secret and demanded that he shouldn't contact her again. They beat him up and took his phone and pen drive, to destroy all evidence of their relationship. Swapnil's parents, who also just heard of the relationship, ran to the police because they feared for their son's life, but were told "Why are you behaving like characters in the film Sairat. Your story will also become like the film's. There will be bloodshed in your home." Sairat, a Marathi film, tells the story of an inter-caste couple who are killed in the name of honour by the girl's family. "My complaint against the girl's brother was not registered. Had they taken action, my son would have been alive today," said Swapnil's dad.

The same night a group of 15-20 men came to Swapnil's house, at first threatening him and his dad, and then inviting them to come to the girl's house to settle the matter. Dad was reluctant, but Swapnil assured him it will be alright. "When I reached their home, the girl's father started saying casteist things about me and my son," said Swapnil's dad. "Both my son and I were slapped. The father called the girl and asked my son to apologise to her and call her his sister. My son was humiliated and was asked to fall at her feet. He even did that. But the girl's father kicked him. He was so scared that he ran out of the house. Four-five people ran behind him and beat him." Swapnil, his mom, and his dad tried to flee from the house, but were chased and beat up by the girl's family, while bystanders did not intervene. According to the police, "Swapnil was injured in his private parts and his chest. His skull was cracked and he was left bleeding on a street behind Nerul police station. He was taken to D Y Patil hospital but was declared dead on arrival." Swapnil's dad said he would always rue the moment he decided to take Swapnil to the girl's home. "I saw my son fall to the ground. I saw him die before my eyes," he said.


Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
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July 20th:
Rosemary Gill
died on July 20th, 2013

48yo Rosemary from UK wasn't happy in her marriage. The relationship wasn't working out, they were sleeping in separate room, and Rosemary filed for divorce and was seeing her previous husband. Her current husband hired private investigators, installed various tracking devices, secretly followed her around the town, and finally texted her that he will agree to a divorce if she spends the night home one last time. He murdered her that night by repeatedly hitting her on the head with a dumbbell. Their 19yo daughter, who had been sleeping in the next door room, found her mom's body the next morning.

Rosemary's story was included in the BBC2 Documentary "Love You To Death" that features interviews with friends and relatives of 86 UK women killed by their romantic partners in 2013.


Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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July 21st:
Gina Score
died on July 21st, 1999

14yo Gina from Dacota, USA, died after a forced run at a juvenile boot camp where she was sent for petty theft (she stole food). Gina had a heart condition and was overweight, so her mom was concerned that intense exercises in summer heat might be unsafe for her, but Gina's corrections officer told her girls gradually break into the running part of the program. Gina died of hyperthermia five days after arriving at the boot camp. Her parents plan to use the settlement to pay for psychiatric treatment for children released from the state's juvenile corrections system. Gina's mom said she wanted "to help them get back to a normal way of life away from the brainwashing, to readjust to society. We want to make sure this never happens to another child or another parent again." Gina's dad is planning to publish a book of his daughter's poetry. Here's one poem by Gina:

Tell me a wish and I'll grant it,
tell me what you see and I'll tell you what I know,
show me the moon and I'll show you the stars,
tell me a lie and I'll tell you goodbye.


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 22nd:
Charles Billis
died on July 22nd, 2009

57yo Mr Billis from Vermont, USA, was legally blind. He died in a car crash when his wife was driving and wearing a seat belt and he wasn't. It was ruled an accident at first, but she then bragged about murdering her husband on a dating website, repeatedly stating that the crash was deliberate and providing numerous details, stating that she did it because he was controlling. She was sentenced to 7-15 years.


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 23rd:
Laura Perez
died on July 23rd, 2014

25yo police officer Laura Perez was killed by her husband because he thought she was cheating on him. "She was a monster," he said in court. "She was detestable for what she did to me." He shot her and set their house on fire, so that their 5yo daughter wouldn't know what happened, according to him.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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July 24th:
Robert Manwill
died on July 24th, 2009

Robert was an 8yo boy from Idaho, USA, who was killed by his mom's boyfriend. It was a part of an overall pattern of domestic violence in the house. The boy was beaten for weeks, sometimes with wooden planks, the man "dropped a knee" on his chest, causing internal bleeding (the family referred to this form of "discipline" as "dead bugging"), and made to sit in a closet when DHS visited the house (so that DHS wouldn't see his bruises). On July 23rd the man broke the apartment wall with Robert's head. The next day Robert complained of headache and other pains, and had trouble keeping balance. Mom just went to work. When she found him dead, she and her boyfriend dropped Robert's body in an irrigation canal nearby and reported him missing.

Robert had a father and grandparents. They would have taken him if his mom called them. She said she didn't protect Robert from her violent boyfriend or ask for help because she was scared that both Robert and his younger brother would be taken from her, if DHS found out Robert was being abused. The jury convicted both her and her boyfriend of murder.


Posted by Manya on February 10th, 2016
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Riley Ann Sawyers
died on July 24th, 2007

Riley Ann was a 2yo girl from Ohio, USA, whose parents were teenagers. They stayed with Riley's grandma, her dad's mom, until he moved out, pressing domestic violence charges against Riley's mom. She moved out half a year later as well, and married another man, in Texas. That man believed in discipline and expected 2yo Riley to address adults as "Sir" and "M'am". When she failed to do so, the couple beat her with belts, threw her across the room, and held her head underwater in a bathtub. Just two months later Riley died during one such "discipline session" - she couldn't stand up when told to.

Riley is also known as "Baby Grace" because her mom and stepdad dumped her body in the ocean, and when fishermen found it and the police investigation began, her real name wasn't known yet.


Posted by Manya on March 18th, 2016
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July 25th:
Jonathan James
died on July 25th, 2011

Twin brothers Jonathan and Joseph from Texas, USA, were having a court-ordered visit with their father and stepmother. The boys' grandma described Jonathan as a friendly, cheerful child who never held a grudge. "Jonathan could forgive you no matter what you did," she said. "You could ground him and he would say, 'I love you, Mimi.'" Prior to the visit with his father, Jonathan asked grandma, "Can I come to your house instead? I know I'm going to be in trouble while I'm there because I always am." During the visit, the boy wet his bed, and was punished by not being allowed water or any other liquid for five days. He was forced to stand on a spot marked with an "X" on the kitchen floor, and hold a sack of potatoes over his head. The kitchen had no air conditioning. The stepmother explained the situation as follows, "He always said he was thirsty. He was in time out, and every two minutes he would say, ‘I need a drink…I need to go to the bathroom." His brother Joseph explained that Jonathan tried to get to the bathroom to drink water from the faucet. Jonathan died of dehydration.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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July 26th:
Manoj C Manu
died on July 26th, 2017

16yo Manoj from India hanged himself to complete The Blue Whale Challenge. It's a dare-based "game" that was invented by a 22yo Russian man to coerce teenagers to kill themselves because he felt they were "bio-waste" undeserving of life. Teenagers express interest in the challenge by posting certain hashtags on social media; they are then contacted by "curators" that assign them various tasks on the span of 50 days. These tasks usually involve sleep deprivation, self-injury, and providing the curator with sensitive information that they can use to blackmail the teenager to stay in the "game" (e.g. nude photos). The final "task" is to commit suicide.


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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July 27th:
Aj Betts
died on July 27th, 2013

On Friday, July 26th, 16-year-old A.J. Betts attempted to take his own life. A.J. was born to a black father and white mother, and with a variety of birth defects (including a cleft palate that required numerous surgeries). He spoke a little funny. He didn’t look like the other kids in his high school. And when he was outed as being gay, was when the bullying escalated. Even those he thought were his closest friends turned from calling him “A.J.” to “Gay J.” Those who weren’t close to him were already calling him derogatory names. A.J’s torment was so deep he attempted suicide. A.J. told his mother shortly before he died, of an incident when he was being bullied in class, before a teacher. The teacher herself lacked the courage to intervene on A.J.’s behalf, and instead kept her head down while the bullying proceeded. It took a fellow student to stand up and tell the bully to knock it off. It was only then that the teacher took action…and told the intervening student to sit down and be quiet.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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