Memorial Wall : victims of domestic abuse

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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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September 21st:
Keith Bryan
died on September 21st, 2011

52yo Mr Bryan from Oklahoma, USA, was a Chief of Fire Department where he worked for more than 30 years, owned his own construction business, and was active in church. He had two sons, two grandsons, and a wife who seems to have struggled with sex addiction. She kept updating her friends on her numerous affairs, then told one of her lovers that she's about to receive a large inheritance and will be free to be with him. Soon after Mr Bryan was shot in the back of his head in his home. Several friends and family members testified she showed them a photo of the man's penis and bragged about the tryst while she rode with them to the hospital to see her husband after he was shot. She was sentenced to life without parole.


Posted by Manya on July 18th, 2016
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September 23rd:
John Pehota
died on September 23rd, 2015

77yo Mr Pehota was shot by his wife of 40 years. She was cooking pork chops and drinking wine, they began arguing (she doesn't remember what it was about), she broke a plate, and then got her "possum gun" that she used to scare off possums on her property, and shot her husband four times: his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. She then called 911, saying "I think I shot my husband. I think I shot him three times... he pushes me, he mentally pushes me." Mrs Pehota said he has never hurt her physically.

Their family friend said, "I know a lot of Jack's friends and family, we've all talked about it and nobody can understand how it really happened. But I know they were having problems, he was really getting up there in age. When I was talking with one of my best friends, we were saying we could picture Jack saying, ‘go ahead, shoot me,' and if Anne had it in her mind to do something, she would do it. They were nitpicking at each other for years, and I guess Anne couldn't take it anymore." Mrs Pehota's defense attorney explained that "she has a lot of stressors that have nothing to do with Mr. Pehota. She is stressing about her house, about her air-conditioning unit, and that she was being cheated by different service people... and she has some health concerns about Mr. Pehota."


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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September 26th:
Shobhana
died on September 26th, 2016

55yo Shobhana from Kerala, India, was mentally ill. She belonged to a wealthy family who lived nearby, but abandoned her and her 26yo daughter Shruthi (also unwell). The mother and daughter slowly starved in their home without any support or care, neither from their family nor from social services (best in the country). Shobhana died of starvation. Emaciated Shruthi was found lying near her body by a member of their village council. Shruthi seemed unaware that her mother was dead, spoke in a child-like manner, and couldn't respond to questions asked. She was taken to a hospital, but her family still appeared reluctant about getting involved in her care.


Posted by Manya on February 12th, 2017
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September 27th:
Uta von Schwedler
died on September 27th, 2011

Uta von Schwedler, 49yo mother of four and an HIV researcher at the University of Utah, USA, was "a renowned scientist, loving mother, beloved friend, nature enthusiast, environmentalist, biker, hiker, swimmer, camper, sister, daughter, girlfriend, and so much more," according to her family and friends. Initially Uta's death was ruled a suicide, but after more investigation and a lengthy trial, her ex husband, a pediatrician, was convicted of murder. They were having a custody battle over their four children.

Uta often took the kids hiking at Salt Lake City mountains, here's her son's words about it: "September 25th, 2011, was one of the last days of my mom's life. We were up there camping. We loved to get out in the outdoors. My mom was always pushing when we were young, taking us out on hikes. It was a beautiful day, I think the leaves may have been changing, just gorgeous. We have a picture with all of us, you know, the whole group all together. I definitely feel that that is a special place. You know, that's one of the last places I was with her. It's beautiful. And, so, I do feel that there's some sort of, like, special connection up there on the peak."


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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October 2nd:
Rokstan M
died on October 2nd, 2015

20yo Rokstan from Syria was gang raped. She said, "I was taken by three men. Ever since that time my family have regarded me as unclean. My mother and my brothers mistreat me. They say that I deserve to die." Rokstan fled to Germany because she feared for her life. She lived in a house for single women and worked as a translator for immigrants seeking asylum. She was murdered and buried in a shallow grave a few days after she returned to her family. Rokstan's social media profile said "I am awaiting death. But I am too young to die."


Posted by Manya on October 2nd, 2016
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October 5th:
Sonia Santiesteban
died on October 5th, 2013

Sonia Santiesteban, 66, a loving grandmother raising her three grandchildren was murdered, police said, by her own daughter. “I went down there for the safety of the kids,” said a neighbor “When I entered there it was awful, the scene was awful that’s all I can say about, it was horrible and it was sad because the kids were still in there the killer was in there also,” Miami-Dade Police said the killer was Yudenia Rodriguez, 40, who stabbed her mother to death after the two got into an argument.


Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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October 10th:
Cecilia Lam
died on October 10th, 2014

On Friday, Cecilia Lam was shot by partner. Police were called out to the 500 block of Natoma Avenue on reports of a shooting. When they arrived, they found 29-year-old Cedric Young Jr. and Lam, both suffering from gunshot wounds. Police confirmed that Young had shot Lam before turning the gun on himself. He died that day. Lam was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. She was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon. Police told reporters that the incident was a domestic violence case; Young had been arrested the night before the murder-suicide after responding to the apartment multiple times for domestic disturbances. After the third time, police arrested Young on suspicion of public drunkenness. He was booked into San Francisco County Jail and released Friday morning at 4 a.m. Shortly after being released, Young reportedly went back to the apartment where he lived with Lam. Police were called out there again. At that time, he claimed he was just picking up some of his things. Police waited while he grabbed his stuff and left. An hour later, he returned to the apartment and shot both Lam and himself.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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October 11th:
Shahena Uddin
died on October 11th, 2014

A vulnerable teenager who was killed by her own sister-in-law after years of abuse from her family wrote heartbreaking letters to her murderer begging for help and blaming herself for her treatment. Shahena Uddin, 19, was forced to lick the toilet seat and eat her own waste after being punished for 'offences' such as eating at the wrong speed. She was found dead in the bathroom of her home in Watford after being brutally beaten with fists and weapons - making a noise so loud that neighbours thought her family was 'tenderising meat'. In one letter, she drew a heart captioned 'before' and a broken heart with the word 'after', along with a string of self-hating messages. The teenager, spelling her name 'Shina', wrote: 'Shina is bad and does not deserve to live in this bad world. 'Shina RUINED everyone's life and happiness. I don't know how this all happened in a few hours. RUINED EVERYTHING. RUINED EVERYONE'S HAPPINESS. UPSET EVERYONE. WHY?' In another, addressing her sister-in-law Salma Begum as 'Afa', Shahena wrote: 'It hurts when you call me a cow and a rat-dog. I am suffering. I have no one to tell so please can you help me. Afa I will put my head in the toilet for you just to forgive me. Please Afa I really need you.'


Posted by Jane on June 29th, 2018
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October 12th:
Ryan Poston
died on October 12th, 2012

29yo Ryan was a young lawyer from Ohio, USA, who dated a Psychology student. He wanted to end the relationship and asked his dad for advice, saying "I don't know what to do to get her to leave." "I told him to make sure that he was kind to [her] and to be honest with her about what was going on," Ryan's dad said. "I told him to be direct, but to be kind." Ryan was killed the next night. The girlfriend claimed self-defense and battered wife syndrome, but the judge and the jury didn't buy it; she shot him six times in the face, laughed about it, and expressed no remorse. Her cellmate said she used the battered wife syndrome defense because she said she was too intelligent to plead insanity.


Posted by Manya on March 7th, 2016
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Fred McClure
died on October 12th, 2010

59yo Mr McClure from Pennsylvania, USA, worked as a maintenance supervisor and had four children and five grandchildren. He was killed by his girlfriend who shot him 8 times and told the police she mistook him for an intruder. It was daylight, neighbors saw them coming home together a few hours earlier, and some of the shots were fired while she was standing over him as he was laying on the floor. The woman was convicted of murder and sentenced to life.


Posted by Manya on June 26th, 2016
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October 14th:
Yolanda And Theo Molemohi
died on October 14th, 2009

Mom and dad of 2yo Theo and 4yo Yolanda from Manchester, UK, had been separated for about a year due to domestic violence. Mom was staying at a hotel, but returned daily to get Yolande ready to school and to babysit Theo while her ex-husband was at work. On the morning of October 14th nobody opened the door for her, so she let herself in through the window, and found both children strangled with internet cables, her ex husband unconscious, suicide notes around the house, and a video tape titled "The End" left in a prominent place, for her to see. On it were Theo and Yolanda, waiving to the camera and saying "Goodbye mummy". A note was attached to the computer screen, saying "use the internet as much as you like," referencing the fact that she was using dating websites (which she didn't hide). The ex-husband recovered from his suicide attempt and was jailed for 28 years. "You have shown not an ounce of remorse in this court," said the judge. "Your pity has been exclusively reserved for yourself."

Their mom said, "I am their mother, I brought them into the world with the unspoken promise that I would always protect them and at the time they needed that the most I could not be there. (...) I take pride in knowing that they were polite, caring, happy babies. I will always remain proud to be their mother. Their lives were short but they lived it to their full potential. I love them very much and they will always be a beautiful part of me."


Posted by Manya on October 14th, 2017
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