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a tragic and horrifying event happened in our community, one I knew everyone
would hear about. I kept waiting for our community to cry out over the loss of
Kristen Bicking’s life, taken in such a brutal and terrible way. It never came.
Still, I wait. There were no candlelight vigils, protests in the streets, or
voices rising in the air, but there should have been. Kristen did not deserve
to die the way she did at the hands of a man that had a history of using
violence against her. Kristen could have been your daughter. Your sister. Your
mother. Your cousin. Your best friend from elementary school. No matter your
relationship to her – or any victim of homicide – we should all agree: no one
deserves to die the way Kristen did.
is the 10th person murdered due to domestic violence this year in Minnesota.
Last year at least 29 people were killed due to domestic violence in Minnesota.
Each year, around half of the victims of domestic violence homicide are from
rural areas and small towns, just like ours. Abuse is an isolating experience.
Often, people who harm their partners try to keep them from interacting with
family, friends, coworkers or anyone who might be trusting and supportive. When
you are being harmed by someone who claims to care about you, isolated from
people who could support you, many feelings can come up including shame, guilt,
and hopelessness. Imagine being in that situation, only to have the people you
see around town, at the grocery store and gas station, whispering and posting
on social media “why does she stay?” or “why doesn’t she make different
choices?” or “it can’t be that bad.”
you know that victims are at the most risk of being murdered by their partner
when attempting to leave or right after leaving the relationship? Or that
financial abuse – which happens in over 95% of abusive relationships – can
prevent someone from making “different choices” because they do not have the
money to create a safe living situation?
response, as neighbors who care about each other’s well-being, should be “why
is he hurting her?” and “why doesn’t anyone stop him from harming her?” and “I
believe her.” The question we should all be asking ourselves is, “how can I
understand that it is easier to look away than acknowledge that someone in your
community is being harmed by their partner. If we acknowledge it, it means we
have the responsibility to do something about it. Of course, fear plays a huge
role: fear that you could be hurt if you intervene and fear to look at the
situation because you, yourself, might be a victim or someone who uses the same
violence in your relationship. It is scary to acknowledge that the person who
says they care about you is hurting you. It is scary to acknowledge that you
are hurting someone when you know it is wrong and that people might judge and
isolate you. However, saying domestic violence doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go
away. It did not prevent Kristen from being murdered.
want to be clear: victims and survivors of relationship abuse and domestic
violence are not alone, no matter how alone they may feel. There is help
available in the community 24/7 to provide support and help to victims of
domestic violence. Advocates for Family Peace provides free and confidential
services for those who need help or someone to talk to. You can reach out
at 218-248-5512 or through the website www.stopdomesticabuse.org. Please
know that you are not alone. It is not your fault. We believe you.
should be with us today, living her life, loved by family and friends.
Remember her name. Remember her courage, her worth, and her value as a member
of this community. We all have value and we all deserve to live without