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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February 14th:
Reeva Steenkamp
died on February 14th, 2013

29yo Ms Steenkamp from South Africa was a successful model, appearing in magazines, commercials, and TV shows. She also worked as a paralegal, applied to the bar in 2011, and was hoping to be a qualified legal advocate by the age of 30. Ms Steenkamp was a keen horse rider until she broke her back in a fall in her early 20s and had to learn to walk again. Since November 2012 she was dating a South African Olympic and Paralympic runner, who shot her on Valentine's day 2013 while she was using the bathroom in his home. He said he mistook her for an intruder and was initially found guilty of culpable homicide, but then was convicted of murder.

Posted by Manya on February 11th, 2018
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February 15th:
Torey Dymond
died on February 15th, 2012

1yo Torey Dymond from Florida, USA, died after taking a walk with his mom's boyfriend. The man said Torey was "whiny" and wasn't taking to him as he would have liked; he said the child fell and hit his head twice. When they got home, Torey's mom noticed that his face was purple and blue and he seemed "lifeless". She called 911, but Torey died in hospital.

Posted by Manya on March 23rd, 2017
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February 16th:
Blake Litton
died on February 16th, 2012

3yo Blake from Missouri, USA, lived with his mom, little sister, and mom's boyfriend. One evening their mom was at work at a nursing home, and the stepdad took Faith and Blake to Walmart. Blake soiled his pants, and the man "lost it," as he later texted Blake's mom. He beat Blake so badly that the boy's body was covered in cuts and bruises, he had a lacerated liver, and a ruptured blood vessel in his brain. Once the man calmed down and realized Blake was seriously hurt, he took both kids to their mom's work, saying that he loves her but he can't call ambulance for Blake because he'll end up in prison for life. Blake's mom told him to take Blake to emergency room anyway and went back to work. The man drove off with both kids, stopped on a highway and called 911, saying that Blake was just hit by a car. By that time (5AM) the mom finished her shift and arrived at the scene as she was walking home. When hospital staff saw Blake's injuries, they called the police. His sister also had cuts, bruises, and a broken wrist.

Blake died the next day, the man was imprisoned for life, mom is still pending trial on murder charges (because Blake might have survived had she called 911 immediately). Blake's little sister lives with her grandparents, and was the one who told the story of what happened, because she saw it all: how Blake soiled his pants at Walmart, how the man was punching Blake in the bathroom, how he drove her and her unconscious brother to mom's work in the middle of the night, how mom left them with him and went back to work, and how the man staged the hit-and-run that never happened.

Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
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February 17th:
Nitish Katara
died on February 17th, 2002

Nitish Katara was abducted from the wedding of his classmate in Ghaziabad in February 2002 by cousins, Vikas and Vishal Yadav His abductors had observed Katara was friendly with Vikas' sister Bharti Yadav, and were allegedly opposed to this friendshp. With the help of a hired killer, Sukhdev Pehalwan, the duo " took Nitish home, then to an unknown place where they killed him and dumped his body" The murder was considered an honour killing, but a Supreme Court judge ruled that it was not, also that it could not be categorised as a crime that warrented the death penalty. The Delhi High Court sentenced the two Yadavs and Pehalwan to a 30-year jail term without remission.

Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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Janani Luwum: A 20th Century Martyr
died on February 17th, 1977

Janani Luwum was born in the village of Mucwini in the Kitgum District Luwum converted to Christianity in 1948, and in 1949 he went to Theological College. He was ordained a deacon in 1953, and the following year he was ordained a priest. He served in the Upper Nile Diocese of Uganda and later in the Diocese of Mbale. In 1969 he was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda at Gulu. After five years he was appointed Archbishop of the Metropolitan Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga (in Zaire). He was a leading voice in criticising the excesses of the Idi Amin regime that assumed power in 1971. In 1977, Luwum delivered a note of protest to dictator Idi Amin against the policies of arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances. Shortly afterwards the archbishop was accused of treason and of being an agent of the exiled former president and for planning to stage a coup. The next day, Radio Uganda announced that the three had been killed when the car transporting them to an interrogation center had collided with another vehicle. The accident, Radio Uganda reported, had occurred when the victims had tried to overpower the driver in an attempt to escape. He is recognised as a martyr by the Church of England and the Anglican Communion and his death is commemorated on 17 February as a Lesser Festival. Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Date retrieved: 15 July 2018 08:42 UTC

Posted by Jane on July 15th, 2018
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February 18th:
Dwelle Jerome Clark
died on February 18th, 2014

55yo Dwelle Clark from New Jersey, USA, was stabbed to death by his ex-girlfriend. He caught her rummaging through his mother's handbag, asked her to stop it, she started hitting him with a walking cane, he left the room, and she followed him with a butcher knife and stabbed him in the chest. Mr Clark died three days later. Their daughter said, "My mom is a drug addict, but she hasn't been using lately because she's trying to get herself together. In a situation like that, it doesn't take much for (an addict) to snap. This is not the first time my mom has snapped like this." "I really don't know what to think," she added. "It's just a sad situation. She's locked up and he's no longer here." The woman has stabbed her previous boyfriend to death in 1980, and served prison time for it. "I'm guilty," she said. "So what else can I do?"

Posted by Manya on March 27th, 2016
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February 19th:
Karen Willmon
died on February 19th, 2017

Cherokee County School buses displaying white ribbons on the front of each vehicle in memory of one of the colleagues, Karen Willmon who was tragically murdered earlier in the week. The Cherokee County Board of Education, Superintendent of Education his sincere condolences on behalf of the Board of Education and extended thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and co-workers of Karen. Karen was also a former employee of the Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Board as an attendant at Cherokee Rock Village Park, the Parks and Rec Board issued a statement on their Facebook page saying "The Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Board offering its condolences to the family and friends of Karen Wilmon…"Karen was a former employee at Cherokee Rock Village and was a diligent and dedicated worker. Karen's unmatched work ethic was a tremendous contribution to the continued success of the park. We are all grieved by the tragic loss of this admirable lady".

Posted by Jane on July 21st, 2018
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Jeff Akers
died on February 19th, 2008

50yo Jeff Akers from UK was stabbed to death in a public bathroom because he was gay. Mr Akers worked as an accountant and volunteered for HIV/AIDS charities, counseling other gay people who had contacted the disease. "Guys like Jeff seem few and far between... he was gentle but firm when needed, kind and giving, non-judgmental and while he had a serious side he could make you laugh and brighten the moment with his wicked sense of humor. Jeff had a wealth of experience he never hesitated to share and encourage others with if called on for help. He took so little when giving so much to those around him." David Jack, friend.

Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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February 20th:
Steve Rhinehart
died on February 20th, 2012

62yo Mr Rhinehart, a retired contractor and farmer from Georgia, USA, had a wife, two grown kids, and a cattle dog Sadie. His 36yo son struggled with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, and moved back with his parents. As time went on, Mr Rhinehart insisted that he move out, because he would neither get a job nor receive treatment. The son felt his mom alone would take care of him, wanted them to divorce, and when that didn't happen, he killed his father. "I just pulled the gun out, continued to walk up the hill and around the corner and met him and just shot him, right in the chest," he said.

Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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February 21st:
Savannah Hardin
died on February 21st, 2012

Savannah was a 9yo girl from Alabama, USA, ran to death by her grandmother over some fundraiser candy. Savannah took it from another girl on a schoolbus, ate it, left the wrapper at her seat, but told the bus driver she didn't do it. The bus driver told her grandmother. "I should have paid for those candy bars," the driver said in retrospect. Grandmother called the mother of the girl Savannah took the candy from, offering to pay for it and saying that Savannah is in a big trouble. The woman spoke to her daughter to get the story straight and called right back because she was concerned with grandmother's tone of voice; "I didn't want Savannah to get in trouble for something that didn't happen," she said.

The next day Savannah didn't take the bus to school, and the bus driver came by their house in the afternoon to check on the girl. Grandmother said Savannah was "gonna learn" not to lie and that she would "run until I tell her to stop.". Neighbors across the street saw Savannah running for more than three hours, while carrying firewood sticks, with her grandmother shouting: "I didn't tell you to stop!" They called 911 later on that evening, when Savannah was on the ground, vomiting, as her grandmother slapped her and shouted: "Get up! I better not have to tell you again!" Savannah had a seizure, was hospitalized, and died three days later from extreme physical exertion. Her grandmother was convicted of capital murder. "I wish I had done something a lot sooner," said the neighbor.

Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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February 22nd:
Alexis Arensman
died on February 22nd, 2015

Alexis from Indiana, USA, was born while her mom was pending trial for battering Alexis' older sister (the three-months-old received four broken ribs and a broken leg). When Alexis was 16 months old, both girls were removed by CPS because their mom (while still pending trial) put Alexis in the care of someone with a known history of sexually assaulting a child. 18 months later mom finished doing her time for battery of Alexis' sister and regained custody of both girls. A year later CPS received multiple reports about child abuse suspicions because Alexis had a lot of bruises. Those reports were deemed "unsubstantiated" because mom said Alexis had hurt herself, and Alexis wouldn't answer when asked how did she receive the bruises. And three months later Alexis was found dead (battered child syndrome, 17 separate injuries), and her sister seriously injured. Mom and dad pleaded guilty to neglect and were sentenced to 32 and 35 years respectively.

Posted by Manya on May 5th, 2019
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Leota (Toni Lea) Antonnette Cheney
died on February 22nd, 2011

Toni Lea Cheney, 45 was brutally beaten and killed by her Ex-Boyfriend

Posted by Jane on July 6th, 2018
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Rosa Elena Carranza-Morales and Dayna Sofia Elamrani-Carranza
died on February 22nd, 2007

While attending an apartment fire firefighters discovered the bodies of Rosa Elena Carranza-Morales, 26, and Dayna Sofia Elamrani-Carranza, 11 months, her baby daughter in the apartment. The next day they discovered the body of her husband in a closet. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wounds and smoke inhalation. Rosa had taken out a restraining order against her husband a week or so before the fire, and had reported that he had a history of beating her and that she feared he would kill her.

Posted by Jane on July 7th, 2018
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February 23rd:
Patrick McSorley
died on February 23rd, 2004

Mc Sorley was sexually abused by clergy at the age of 12. When a priest stopped by his family's home to offer condolences on the death of his father. McSorley said the priest took him out for ice cream and then molested him. His lawsuit was among the first of hundreds eventually filed against the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. Alexa MacPherson a friend of McSorley's said he abused drugs and alcohol and had been in and out of rehabilitation centers trying to break the habit. "The memories of what had happened to him -- he had to battle continuously" she said. "He would do almost anything to escape the pain." "From a very young age he had a lot of pitfalls thrown at him. I think the church stuff is what threw him over the edge" she said. "It really put him in a place that he just couldn't come back from."

Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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