Saturday, October 2, 2004

Event fights domestic violence

By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

COVINGTON - Debra Culberson doesn't want the same thing that happened to her daughter to happen to other women.

The mother of Carrie Culberson, whose boyfriend had a history of abusing her and was convicted of her 1996 murder, was one of the guest speakers at the Day of Peace celebration Friday in Covington. The event drew about 100 people to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

According to the event co-chairs, Ann Brandon and Tracy Denham, Day of Peace hopes to promote peace making and reduce violence in families, neighborhoods and schools in Northern Kentucky.

"We're trying to get the word out to the community about domestic violence, dating violence, even elder abuse," said Maureen Rich, event committee member.

"While domestic violence (awareness) has come a long way, we still have a long way to go," Denham said.

Kim Adams, executive director of the Women's Crisis Center, told the crowd gathered at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, "Organizations like the crisis center are here to help. But we can't do it without the help of the community."

Covington Mayor Butch Callery also read a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness month in Covington, saying the city was pledging a "commitment to educating Kentuckians on domestic violence."

T-shirts that domestic violence victims made at the crisis center were hung in the main reception room.

"The T-shirts are a way victims of domestic violence express their feelings and tell what's in their heart," Brandon said.

One yellow shirt read, "You say to me 'I love you,' and then you beat me black and blue... ha ha, I got away and gone I plan to stay."

Youth Out Front, a group of students from Holmes and Scott high schools, acted out skits illustrating how violence in teens can stem from violence in the home.

The students ended their performance by stating aloud to the audience, "If only you knew, you'd try to understand."

Willie Elliott, professor of social work at Northern Kentucky University, spoke about the role men have in stopping domestic violence. Elliott said he was a former abuser.

"I'm here to tell you there is a chance for (abusers) to change," he said.

Culberson spoke of her daughter's violent encounters with boyfriend Vincent Doan, who is now serving a life sentence for her murder. She said she warned her daughter he was getting more violent, but Carrie protected him and stayed in the relationship.

The 22-year-old Clinton County woman's body has never been found.

"The greatest self-defense you can have is (to) not get in the relationship in the first place," Elliott said. "Fifty percent of women murdered are trying to get out of the relationship."

Culberson said it's too late to help her daughter, but not for others.

"We've got to get the word out, and do what we can do to stop it," she said. "If I can help one young woman - that's why I'm here."



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