A very emotional program was given by Eighth Judicial District-North Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen at the corner of Third and Hervey streets.
McQueen was joined Tuesday by Hope Police Chief J. R. Wilson, and County Judge Wallace Martin, who read a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Prevention Month.
A clothesline of remembrance was erected by the Domestic Violence Prevention Coalition, and each tee-shirt represented a victim of domestic violence in the state of Arkansas for the last 10 years. The victim's families and friends decorate the tee-shirt with whatever they want to say to the world about their loved one. The story of how they died is on each tee-shirt, as well as their names, dates of birth, and dates of death. It also shows where they lived and where they died... and sometimes... who killed them and the specifics of the case against them.
“There are three tee-shirts that are from this area,” McQueen said. “We had one victim, April Love, who was from Hope, who died in Fayetteville at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. Her mom, Magigor Love, is here in the audience and we appreciate her coming today.”
A woman from Rosston, who was killed by her ex-husband, was also remembered, and a woman from Prescott, Amy Smith, whose tee-shirt was not on the clothesline, was remembered as the clothesline went on display in Prescott on Wednesday.
“Amy Smith's family will present us with the tee-shirt that they made to be displayed on the clothesline on Wednesday,” McQueen said. “She was a 24-year-old woman who was watching movies at her own home and was shot through a window, along with her friend, by an ex-boyfriend.”
McQueen said 1,500 women, according to the FBI, are killed nationwide annually and that 75 percent of women who are killed by domestic violence are killed when they are leaving the abusive relationship or have left the abusive relationship.
“That's how we fight this terrible epidemic—we expose it,” she said. “We have to bring it out into the open, not hide it.”
“I guess you could say that I have been affected by domestic abuse, in that my wife's stepfather abused her, and it has affected her life, as well as mine, since we've been married for 20 years,” Chief Wilson said. “The effects of abuse linger and the effects of abuse are felt in many different situations.”
McQueen thanked everyone who was represented at the ceremony, including DHS, the Hempstead County Sheriff's Office, the Hope Police Department, the Probation and Parole Office, Women of Hope, and several other groups which represented the citizens of Hope.