Violence against women still all too common

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Women, children and families are senselessly suffering.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. Yet, violence against women continues to be a social issue.

“Though the rate of domestic violence has dropped as prevention and awareness efforts have increased over the last 15 years, there is much work to be done,” said speaker, Nancy Pelosi, as reported by US Newswire. “One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Nearly 1.3 million women will confront these violent acts this year.”

However, in all of the statistics, the true stories behind these numbers can be lost or forgotten, like the story of Keighley Alyea.

Over the weekend of fall break, Alyea, 18, of Overland Park, Kan. was found dead in a field in Missouri. Three men from Johnson County have been arrested and charged with the death of Alyea; one of them Alyea had been dating “off and on,” reported the Associate Press.

Authorities have told family members that Alyea was beaten so ruthlessly that she was assumed dead only to regain consciousness after the first assault. While her body was bleeding, broken and fighting for life, these brutes attacked again to make sure she died.

Alyea is more than just a statistic. She is an individual who was innocently taken from this earth by violence that continues to plague our daily lives.

It was almost one year ago that our Manhattan community identified the body of a young woman who was found dead outside of the Quality Inn near the Manhattan Town Center Mall. She was later identified as Alheli Alcantara, 18, of Manhattan, and also a Manhattan High School graduate. Alheli is survived by her mother, Margarita; her older sister, Lizbeth and her younger brother, Raymond Alcantara-Moreno.

Alcantara was a blessed soul who would push through obstacles because of her belief that nothing was impossible, as I have learned from her mother Margarita.

“She will always be with us all the time,” Margarita said.

Unfortunately, Alyea and Alheli are not the only victims of violence in our surrounding communities. Many of us remember the death of Kelsey Smith, 18, who was raped and killed in 2007 and Ali Kemp, 19, whose life was celebrated last week with the Ali Kemp Bandstand.

These are the stories of the worst case scenario, but the horrific fact is that violence against women in our community exists each day in the form of domestic violence, sexual assault, date rape and murder. We must not let this stand, continue to be proactive and supportive in an effort to stop all violence.

It is vital that we avoid our tendency of historical amnesia and we remember all victims of violence. To solve an issue that devastates women, children and families we cannot forget to take lessons from tragedies we have allowed to occur. For if we neglect to celebrate the lives of Keighely Alyea, Alheli Alcantara, Ali Kemp and Kelsey Smith, we only give room for more tragedy.

The violence needs to stop.

-Bobby Gomez is a senior in elementary education. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.

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