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 19th:
Bernice Rice Hensley
died on September 19th, 2016

Bernice Rice Hensley 86 yo was shot and killed by her husband. Their daughter said that he has suffered from dementia for several years. “Her daughter who’s parents had been married for 62 years said. “They were the best parents you could ever have.”

Posted by Jane on July 6th, 2018
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September 20th:
Amanda Bach
died on September 20th, 2011

The marquee outside of Nativity of Our Savior Catholic Church's school read, "Amanda Bach: Remember A Life." Hundreds of mourners did just that Friday morning, filling the church's pews to recall Amanda who was killed Sept. 16. She was described as the apple of her parents' eye, a young woman who lived life to the fullest, who hoped to study nursing in college, who liked country music and rap, hiking and going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends. Amanda's death, the Rev. Andrew Corona said during the funeral Mass, is like having the lights go out unexpectedly. Losing Amanda "is like being thrown into the darkness without the slightest warning".

Posted by Jane on June 16th, 2018
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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:
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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