My CISSter's Closet
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Sturgis Crisis Intervention Shelter Services (CISS) hosted the silent witness exhibit displayed at Sturgis Rally Point on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
The display is made up of life-sized red wooden figures that represent women, children and men that have been killed by a loved one in South Dakota.
Tammi Brock, CISS Executive Director, shared the story of several people including victim Morgan Myers. The Myers family spoke and shared the story of their sister and the tragic stabbing in the chest by her ex-boyfriend.
Witnesses are red because it is the color of blood, the one way in which humans are all united, no matter of race, creed or culture. All present were encouraged to remember their names and join in ending domestic and sexual violence in their communities.
CISS is a grassroots shelter and advocacy program dedicated to the safety and empowerment of people victimized by domestic and sexual violence. CISS was founded in 1991 and for the past 26 years has not only worked directly with victims of violence, but also within our community to eliminate violence against women and their children.
Brock said “we are once again gathering to celebrate, to mourn, to remember and to provide hope for women and their children that have experienced domestic and sexual violence."
Statistics from the Department of Justice show that on average, more than three women are murdered by their partners every day. There is no excuse for domestic violence; it is something that we simply cannot have in our community, she said.
Brock told the crowd that she was asked the other day if there has been a decline in the violence. She said “I hated having to say, 'No' but we do not see a decline. According to the Rapid City Police Department, domestic violence calls are up 30 percent in three years. The data still holds true at 1 in 3 women and approximately 1 in 10 men experience domestic and sexual violence."
Geody VanDewater, Sturgis Chief of Police, said “we are gathered tonight to remember the victims of domestic abuse, we can all agree keeping silent on it has to stop, we all need to speak out and answer their cries for help and be the advocates and voice for those who can’t or are afraid to ask for help. He continued “if you see something say something as it may say a life."
CISS continues to work hard to build accessibility for victims seeking safety, supports and shelter. They have worked hard in our prevention and education efforts; this is an investment in our future one that will encourage next generations to stand up and say, “NO MORE.”
The Morgan Myers story was shared: On April 10, 2012, Morgan Myers was granted a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend, Michael Young. On Thursday, April 26, 2012 at approximately 3:15 Morgan was walking through the parking lot after finishing her shift at work at a Rapid City retailer.
As she approached her car with groceries, she was caught off guard by her ex-boyfriend who had been waiting for her. In her surprise, and before she had a change to react, he stabbed her multiple times in the chest.
Many co-workers, and good Samaritans tried to help Morgan by administering first-aid. Michael Young fled from the police to a nearby hotel where he locked himself in a lobby restroom. Shortly thereafter he was removed from the restroom, at which time he was found to have self-inflicted stab wounds.
During this time, Morgan was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Morgan was a daughter, a sister, a friend, a single mother of four beautiful children, and pregnant with her fifth child. After two years of delays, and trial preparation, Michael Young eventually pled guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
The Candlelight Vigil ended with everyone letting purple balloons go in remembrance of victims and to bring awareness to the community.
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My CISSter’s Closet, a thrift store owned and operated by Crisis Intervention Shelter Service, Inc.
100 percent of the proceeds generated by My CISSter’s Closet go back to CISS to assist more than 300 women and children fleeing from domestic and sexual violence who use our services every year.
Board President Nyla Knigge
Vice President Lisa Urbaniak
Secretary-Treasurer Pam Thomas
Member-at-Large Jessie Levin
Member-at-Large Trina Wheeler
Domestic and sexual violence isn't a seasonal issue, which is why our year-round fund drive is so important. Devote an afternoon to Crisis Intervention Shelter Service, Inc. and see first-hand the families we help daily.
Let’s put an end to domestic and sexual violence.
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