Standing up for and remembering victims of domestic violence

Friday, October 3, 2014
VIDEO: Remembering victims of domestic violence
People came together to remember the victims of domestic violence.

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (WPVI) -- People in South Jersey came together Friday to remember the victims of domestic violence. The event in Burlington County is a chance to honor their memory, but organizers also hope to raise awareness about an issue that exists in our community every day.

Life-size red silhouettes representing the murder victims of domestic violence stand silently.

Part of the Silent Witness Project at Burlington County College Mount Holly Center, each cut out represents a real person, like Bonnie Myers daughter Jodie, who was murdered by her boyfriend 20 years ago.

Bonnie tells us, "It gets easier, but it never, never, never goes away."

The silent witness project is sponsored in part by Providence House Domestic Violence Services in Dellran.

Mary Pettrow from Providence House says, "The ultimate act to domestic violence is homicide, and that's why we are here today, to remember that although it can build and build it can end with the death of the victim."

Advocates urge women in abusive situations to ask for assistance.

Angela Mateo Gonzalez of Servicios Latinos says, "Our goal is to make sure that they know we are here to help them and to provide the support they need they are not alone on this."

Burlington Co Sheriff Jean Stanfield tells us, "We have advocates, we have other survivors, there are people here putting out their hand to welcome them out of the dark."

There were over 65,000 domestic violence cases reported in New Jersey in 2012 - the most recent years statistics are available. More than 3,600 cases were reported in Burlington County alone and 38 women statewide died at the hands of an abuser that year.

31-year-old Misty Ramos of Bordentown was killed by her boyfriend in 2011. Her brother Kelly found her.

Kelly explains, "She was laid out on her hallway floor with the strangulation marks around her neck."

Ramos says the violence has to stop.

"I think the real issue is men, though, it's a man's problem. Men do this to women. Men have to stop we have to get men stop doing this and think it's okay to do," he said.

The message today as these victims are remembered: help is available. Ask for it, so you don't become a victim too.