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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April 1st:
Peter McCloskey
died on April 1st, 2006

37yo Peter McCloskey was sexually abused by an Irish Catholic priest in early 1980s when Peter was a 10yo altar boy. Nothing was done about it at the time, even though there were multiple complaints about this priest. Peter and his family spent years trying to reveal the truth about what happened him and to have it acknowledged. He committed suicide three days after one of the meeting with the church officials, which his brother described as "a horrendous experience." Peter left a note that said "I have done everything that I could to survive. There's nothing left to do."

After his death, the diocese of Limerick released a statement acknowledging the truth of Peter McCloskey's experience of clerical child sexual abuse, and that the information available at that time should have prevented the priest who molested him from taking up ministry in Limerick. "Peter was a man of extraordinary honesty, integrity and courage. His commitment to the truth demands that all involved work to fully examine and address the grave issues which have been raised as a result of Peter's tragic death. All involved acknowledge that this will be a challenging and at times uncomfortable process but we affirm our commitment to work together to that end," concluded the statement. You can read Peter's whole story, including his mom's memories of his childhood, by clicking on his name.


Posted by Manya on March 11th, 2017
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April 2nd:
Christian Choate
died on April 2nd, 2009

13yo Christian from Indiana, USA was physically and sexually abused as a young child in his mom's home, so he moved to live with his father, stepmother, and nine other kids, all in a single-wide trailer. When his was about 9yo, his father saw him acting sexually inappropriate with another relative. The father and stepmom explained to the kids that Christian was a "dog", purchased a dog cage from a neighbor, and chained the boy inside it. He was subjected to frequent beatings and starvation, had to wear a diaper, and was only allowed out of the cage to clean, eat, or use the bathroom. Sometimes he was chained to a bed frame where his dad punched, kicked, and beat him with a metal pole on the head. He was choked until he turned purple and forced to take cold baths. His hands and feet were often bound, leaving his arms and legs so damaged he could barely walk. When the kids' grandma would visit, Christian was kept in a locked room in their trailer home with a blanket over his cage so she wouldn't notice him.

Stepmother gave Christian pen and paper, as well as topics to write about, such as "Why do you want to play with your peter? Why do you still want to see your mom? Why can't you let the past go? What does it mean to be part of a family?" Department of Child Services released Christian's letters to the public; he wondered when, "someone, anyone, was going to check on him". He "wanted to be liked by his family". He was "isolated", "hungry" and "wanted to die".

The neighbor (who unknowingly sold the family the dog cage) was concerned about welfare of the children. She called Department of Child Services, and said she remembers watching a DCS staffer stop by the home in 2008. "She never even stepped foot in the house," the neighbor said."(Stepmother) came out of the house and stood there at the sidewalk and talked to the lady, and I just remember thinking, 'Go inside'."

On April 2nd, 2009, Christian refused to eat. His father responded by punching him multiple times in the head, then tossing him back in his cage. Christian died of blunt trauma, internal bleeding, and a skull fracture. "Nobody's gonna miss him anyhow," said his father. "We'll just bury him." They placed Christian's body in a 2ft deep grave across the street, with a Bible on his chest, and lime to speed up decay. Christian's older sister reported his death two years later, when the father left them.

"Did I fail him? Yes, I failed him," said Christian's father at sentencing, but then added, "I think I'm the only one who loved him."


Posted by Manya on March 10th, 2017
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April 3rd:
Alyssa Morgan
died on April 3rd, 2015

12yo Allyssa from Iowa, USA, killed herself because she was bullied in school for being bisexual. "When you have other people telling you that you're not worthy of anything, or that being bisexual is wrong or somehow disgusting... They're going to take that into thought - that maybe I wasn't right for this world," said her mom. Alyssa left a note saying, "I'm sorry… for everything… I just can't anymore… I love you ALL Goodbye."


Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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Harry Lew
died on April 3rd, 2011

Lance Cpl. Harry Lew was hazed by his fellow Marines, and found dead on April 3. The world wouldn't have known how Lew died, had not one other soldier came forward to tell the truth. His parents were informed by the USMC that Harry was killed on the battlefield, 'supporting combat operations' "I feel very proud of my son," his father said. "But I also feel very, very sad. Nothing can compare to the loss of my only son." One of Lew's passions was tricking, which is a combination of break dancing, acrobatics and martial arts. He helped coach a youth group called "That Breaking Club." The members remember him as someone who brought them close together with his sunny personality and impressive mid-air flips.


Posted by Jane on June 16th, 2018
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April 4th:
McKinley Wilder
died on April 4th, 2012

2yo McKinley from California, USA, died of alcohol poisoning and malnutrition. Her mom and dad were going through a hard divorce. Mom felt dad was manipulative and enjoying the battles, dad felt mom was "a cold-blooded narcissist," and the kids (McKinley had an older sister) were caught in the middle of it. The mother was warned by CPS about her alcohol consumption and was required to stay sober while children were in her custody. Instead, she was binge-drinking and giving alcohol to them too. She was sentenced to ten years as per her plea agreement, to spare the surviving child the trauma of having to testify against her.


Posted by Manya on July 5th, 2016
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mikee
died on April 4th, 2011

mikee mi so soree you feleds ths wer tha onlee waa owt mi wesh mi kolda helpeds you mi wesh you wolda gwabeds hols of mi han oen moer tiem mi wil nevr evr forges you you wer mi angel forevr you wil be mi angel


Posted by kami on April 9th, 2011
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April 5th:
Afroza Chowdhury
died on April 5th, 2015

60yo Afroza Chowdhury from California, USA, had a fight with her husband. He threatened to kill her, and she responded she'd rather kill herself than be killed by him. He called 911 and reported her for threatening suicide. The police officers who arrived on scene couldn't understand Mrs Chowdhury's accent and spoke with her adult son over the phone. In the end the husband was arrested for making threats (while on probation for a previous offense), and Mrs Chowdhury was taken to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. A few hours later the husband was released. Mrs Chowdhury was also released and put on a taxi. When she discovered she was being taken back to her husband, she committed suicide by jumping out of the car (traveling at 60mph on a highway).

"It seems wrong for them to send her to the exact same environment which led her to make suicidal statements and that was just an unhealthy, unsafe environment for her," public defender said. "But if they don't think she's suicidal, she gets to make that decision for herself." However, both California law and the hospital's policy require that staff make reasonable attempts to notify next of kin before releasing a mental health patient. "I have a sister who lives back in Bangladesh," said her son, "and obviously they're asking me, ‘What kind of hospital releases a 60-year-old woman in the middle of the night?' If I knew she was at the hospital - 100 percent - me and my wife would have come and picked her up." His attorney added, "I think his biggest concern is not compensation, but a change in the system so this doesn't happen to someone else's mom, sister, wife."


Posted by Manya on March 11th, 2017
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April 6th:
Lance Helms
died on April 6th, 1995

2yo Lance from California, USA, was born addicted to heroin. Lance stayed with his paternal grandma and aunt because his mom went to prison for robbery, and his dad was violent towards his girlfriend, his sister, his mother, and his grandmother. Despite that, court returned Lance to his dad, who beat him to death 7 months later. "He was the center of our lives," said his grandma. "Lance loved people, especially men. If (his father) had shown him any affection at all, Lance would have followed him around like a little puppy. He was such an incredibly good little boy that I cannot comprehend how anyone could possibly hurt him... (Lance's aunt) asked me after Lance's death, why would God bother making Lance so smart if He was only going to let him die. Well, God didn't cause Lance to die. He was murdered by his own father."


Posted by Manya on March 11th, 2017
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April 7th:
Rehtaeh Parsons
died on April 7th, 2013

15yo Rehtaeh from Nova Scotia, Canada, was reportedly raped by four teenage boys at a small party that involved drinking vodka. No charges were pressed after the initial police investigation because there was evidence supporting the boys' claim that the intercourse was consensual; it was deemed a "he said, she said" case. However, the incident was photographed during the party, and the photo became widespread in Rehtaeh's school and town. As a result, many in school called Parsons a "slut" and she received text messages and Facebook messages from people requesting to have sex with her. Seventeen months later Rehtaeh committed suicide. Her funeral was attended by 500 people, including Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, who said he came "first and foremost as a father trying to imagine what kind of incredible, unfathomable grief could be visited upon a family." In August 2013, Nova Scotia enacted a law allowing victims of cyberbullying to seek protection, including help in identifying anonymous perpetrators, and to sue the individuals or the parents in the case of minors.


Posted by Manya on March 11th, 2017
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April 8th:
Maria Akwiilinus
died on April 8th, 2018

66yo Mrs Akwiilinus from Namibia had a violent son. On April 7th he found his girlfriend at his mother's homestead, and that made him angry because he was not on speaking terms with mom. The argument turned violent. When Mrs Akwiilinus returned home and discovered what happened, she walked over to her son's home and pleaded with him to stop abusing his girlfriend who is the mother of his eleven-month-old son, Mrs Akwiilinus grandson. Her son responded by hacking her to death with a machete.


Posted by Manya on June 30th, 2018
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Kari Lynn Baker
died on April 8th, 2016

31 year old Kari Lynn Baker of Hewitt, TX was a teacher at Spring Valley Elementary and also an adjunct instructor for Tarleton State University. Kari was a loving wife and mother of three girls. Her daughter, Kassidy, passed away six years before Kari. Her husband, Matt, was interested in a new woman in his life and decided to kill Kari. He mixed up some sleeping pills and alcohol, and then smothered Kari once she fell asleep. He then faked a suicide note and staged the bedroom to make it look like Kari had taken her own life. A few years later, he was convicted of her murder.


Posted by Tasha1701D on May 14th, 2017
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April 9th:
Jessica Christina Jones
died on April 9th, 2014

25yo Jessica from Washington state, USA, was "sassy, with a great sense of humor," according to her friends and family. She enjoyed working with her dad clam digging, fishing, canning, berry picking and planting trees, loved to draw, country music and her cats. Jessica was shot to death by her husband in the middle of a domestic dispute. Her 9yo son drew a picture of a tulip for his grandma, Jessica's mom, and told her to hold onto it if she felt sad.


Posted by Manya on March 19th, 2017
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Andrea Dworkin
died on April 9th, 2005

A raped, prostituted warrior-woman who knew what she was talking about yet was so reviled when she fought for the right of women to be free from all forms of exploitation and violence. I remember you with eternal gratitude, sister. Your rest is well-earned.


Posted by Louise on April 15th, 2008
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April 10th:
Nusrat Jahan Rafi
died on April 10th, 2019

19yo Nusrat from Bangladesh was studying at a madrassa (Islamic school). On March 27th, she said the headmaster called her into his office and sexually assaulted her. Nusrat ran out, went to the police the same day, and the headmaster was arrested. Eleven days later she had to go back to school to take her finals. Nusrat was lured to the rooftop, where unidentified people poured kerosene on her and set her on fire; she died four days later in hospital. Nusrat recorded a statement on her brothers phone before her death, saying, "The teacher touched me, I will fight this crime till my last breath."


Posted by Manya on May 4th, 2019
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Emily Rose Perrin
died on April 10th, 2016

4yo Emily from Illinois, USA, "loved to be the princess," according to her cousin. "She was an awesome little girl." Emily's mom had a history of psychiatric illness and substance abuse, and was parenting five children without a support network. Child Protective Services received ten reports of suspected child abuse but dismissed them. "Although this family presented as chaotic, unpredictable and at high risk for harm to the children in the household, the approach to service intervention appeared passive," the Quality Assurance Report states. "Rather than act quickly to move to the next step of safety planning or requesting assistance from the state's attorney to obtain a court order or custody, the caseworker offered prompts for a consistent medication and therapy regimen for family members."

Emily suffered from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that makes it hard to breathe. On April 10th, the day before Emily's 5th birthday, her mom, stark naked, laid on top of Emily and cupped her mouse and nose, suffocating her, because "the dark angel has come." "My little sister was an angel, a little princess," her older brother said. "She always smiled, even though in life she was handed lemons. She had a difficult life."


Posted by Manya on March 26th, 2018
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