Photo by Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald-Star
Participants in a Walk Against Violence turn the corner onto Minnekahta Avenue in downtown Hot Springs, on their way to Kidney Springs where a brief vigil was held in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – In recognition of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a Walk Against Violence was held in Hot Springs last Tuesday, Oct. 27.
The event was organized by Women Escaping A Violent Environment (WEAVE), which operates the state’s first-ever apartment complex in Custer for victims of domestic violence. The facility features 25 beds and primarily serves residents in Custer and Fall River County, but accepts people in need from all over area.
Donna Talley serves as the Executive Director of WEAVE and helped organize the event in Hot Springs last week, along with other volunteers from Hot Springs including board member Jacki Lockwood and counselor Sharon Hansen.
“Every eight seconds a women is beaten by someone who says he loves her, and every two hours a woman is killed,” Talley said at the conclusion of the walk and during a brief vigil held at the Kidney Springs Gazebo in downtown Hot Springs. She added, that while statistics aren’t as prevalent for males, she acknowledge domestic abuse happens to men as well.
The event, which was attended by about a dozen people and included a police escort from Jennings Avenue to Minnekahta Avenue, recognized and honored a pair of Hot Springs women who died due to domestic violence. Catherine Tornquist was killed by her son in October 2011. Julie Doncheske was killed by her ex-boyfriend in July 2006. Also recognized during the vigil was Talley’s mother, Kathy, who endured domestic violence for over 25 years and died in April 1983.
During the vigil, attendees were asked to share their experiences with domestic violence. One of the stories shared included the statement that studies have found that nearly all recent acts of mass violence involve people who have also committed acts of domestic violence, prior to committing other crimes.
The example of this given at the vigil was the 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Mandalay Bay hotel, where 61 people were killed, including the perpetrator Stephen Paddock who had a history of abusing women. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in modern United States history.