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Colorado Springs community leaders working to end culture of domestic violence

July 6, 2017 Updated: July 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm
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photo - FILE - A group of marchers holding Silent Witness silhouettes Friday, October 9, 2009, in observance of Domestic Violence Month. (Gazette file photo)
FILE - A group of marchers holding Silent Witness silhouettes Friday, October 9, 2009, in observance of Domestic Violence Month. (Gazette file photo) 

Community leaders gathered Thursday to answer a question that plagues too many Colorado Springs families: How do we stop domestic violence?

Alarming figures were repeatedly recited - city police respond to up to 40 calls of domestic abuse daily; local domestic violence resource TESSA is called to aid about 10,000 victims in El Paso and Teller counties annually; one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Resources are already in place to help victims escape. TESSA, particularly, offers shelter, advocacy, and counseling. But TESSA Executive Director SherryLynn Boyles asked community leaders to come up with solutions to stop the violence before it starts.

"It's not enough to just keep responding to these calls day after day, year after year," Boyles said. "We have to ask what is it in our climate, in society, that we can affect to reduce the violence."

The two-day Champions for Change Summit, which continues Friday, brings together leaders from healthcare, business, criminal justice, education, faith-based institutions, government, human services, military, sports and media to discuss "bold ideas" and develop new community-wide initiatives to combat domestic violence and sexual assault, Boyles said.

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive and controlling behavior that one partner uses against another in an intimate relationship. It's predominately used by men against women.

The outcomes from the summit will be announced in October as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Boyles said.

TESSA already has announced three goals this year as a part of its 40th anniversary. The first is to better serve victims. The second is using $325,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a crime victim's fund to help find safe homes for about 60 domestic violence victims and their children who are at risk of homelessness.

The third, Project LIFT, will help pay for legal assistance for victims seeking protection orders, especially in complex cases involving children.

But help needs to go beyond that, speakers urged.

"Many times they do (leave) but that doesn't always stop the violence," Terry Schwartz, interim Provost at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, said of victims. The violence could continue for the next woman who dates the abuser, or, as statistics show, it could increase against the victim trying to leave.

That was the case with Janice Nam and Julie Tureson, both victims of domestic violence who allegedly died last year at the hands of their volatile ex-boyfriends after seeking help and abandoning the relationships.

Nam repeatedly filed for protection orders. She stayed with family. She took her alleged attacker, Glen Galloway, to court. Galloway reportedly cut his ankle monitor before his court appearance and disappeared, resurfacing six months later in Nam's home and shooting her to death in bed, court papers allege. He's awaiting trial on murder charges.

Tureson also told authorities she feared her ex-boyfriend James Woo days before he allegedly killed her and left her body in a local storage unit before trying to board an airplane to Hong Kong. Woo is awaiting trial on murder charges.

The 4th Judicial District has been rife lately with similar domestic violence killings, District Attorney Dan May told the crowd, saying he noticed the uptick in 2015.

There were at least six reported domestic violence killings per year in 2015 and 2016, records show.

This year, local mother Lucero Badillo Castillo was reportedly shot to death along with her two children, ages 5 and 8, by her partner, who killed himself.

And Joseph Lamoureux was reportedly strangling his ex-wife in March when her teenage son shot and killed him, police said.

"How do we bring this to an end?" Schwartz asked.

Leaders are currently working on answers.

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Contact Kaitlin Durbin: 636-0362

Twitter: @njKaitlinDurbin

Facebook: Kaitlin Durbin

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