Vigil to end domestic violence draws 100 |

Vigil to end domestic violence draws 100

by Merrie Leininger

The beginning of the end of domestic violence in Douglas County was the first Day of Unity and candlelight vigil Monday night.

About 100 people came to the vigil that began at the Lampe Park pavilion and ended after a candlelight walk to the Family Support Council parking lot.

The support council and the Soroptimist International of Carson Valley organized the event.

The participants sat facing wooden cut-outs which represented the 17 Nevada women who died as a result of domestic violence in 1995. Thirteen women died in 1997.

A survivor of domestic violence, Kelly Dresser of Minden, said she could have been one of those women.

She was married to a man who emotionally and physically battered her during their 3-year marriage.

n So alone. “I was so alone,” she said, as she described how friends and family pulled away because they felt helpless to stop the abuse.

“Then came the day I was faced with the truth this guy could kill me,” Dresser said.

An emotional Dresser described the night her husband exploded, destroyed everything in her house, and attempted to take her then 2-year-old son. That was the night she finally left and called the police.

She stayed with family while getting a restraining order and contacted the Family Support Council. The Soroptimists helped pay for legal counsel for her divorce.

“Maybe I could have done this all alone, but I don’t think so,” she said.

The keynote speaker was Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa.

Del Papa thanked all the participants “on behalf of these silent witnesses and those not here to thank you,” she said.

“Your presence here makes a difference, just as the facility and this community makes a difference.”

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini said the sheriff’s deputies spend a large part of their time responding to very dangerous domestic violence calls.

“One hundred and sixteen people were arrested for domestic violence last month,” he said. “The scary thing is that a vast majority go unreported. People live in fear of those they should trust the most.”

Pierini said the department hopes to continue its crackdown on domestic violence and send a message that everyone who commits this crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Liz Bricker of Soroptimist International of Carson Valley was one of the main organizers of the event and said she was thrilled at the turnout.

n Pleased with turnout. “For the first time, I think this is fabulous,” she said. “I am so pleased and want to thank everyone who came. It went so well and the speakers were fabulous and said just the right things.”

Charlene Booth, president of the Soroptimist of Reno, said the vigil was a great success.

“To get this many people out on a Monday night when there is probably a football game on, I’d say it’s a big success.”

Dirk and Natalia Wunderlich attended the event after reading about it in their church bulletin.

They recently moved to Minden from Los Angles and said they regularly attended similar events in LA.

“The problems are the same but just bigger there,” Natalia said.

Laura Rasmussen of the Tahoe-Sierra Soroptimist said the problem will be stopped only if people start looking out for their neighbors.

“Having people who live in these neighborhoods watch out for their neighbors and take care of each other will help,” she said as she looked at a map of the area with pins showing all the domestic violence incidences in Douglas County.

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