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Family Services, WSPD shine a light on domestic violence

Photo by Tevin Stinson

Family Services, WSPD shine a light on domestic violence
October 12
05:00 2017

Family Services and members of the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) came together to remember local victims of domestic violence and to honor 30 years of national awareness and hope last week when they held a Day of Unity on Friday, Oct. 6. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

During the event held at the Family Services Child Development Shelter on South Broad Street, Mayor Allen Joines and other members of the community joined the Family Services staff and local officers to raise a collective voice against domestic violence. The event kicked off Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is celebrated in communities across the country.

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behavior that involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

After Mayor Joines read a proclamation marking the day and the month, while standing next to cutouts of women  and children who have lost their lives to domestic violence, Police Chief Catrina Thompson said, “We are sharing space in this building with people who have lost their lives to domestic violence.

“And though they are not here, they have family members and survivors that are here. So, I just want us to think about that and recognize the space you are in,” continued Thompson. “We have to do our part to try to educate our community on domestic violence.”

Before leaving the podium, Chief Thompson read an excerpt from an article written by Vonda Henderson in Forsyth Woman, a local magazine. The article titled “Domestic Violence-Why Don’t They Just Leave?” takes a closer look at why those being abused choose to stay.

While there are many examples of domestic violence causing destruction to families, after reading the article Chief Thompson briefly discussed an incident in which domestic violence proved to be impactful to the entire community.

On Oct. 7, 2009, Sgt. Mickey Hutchens, a 20-year veteran with the WSPD, was shot while responding to a call for service at the Bojangles on Peters Creek Parkway. The restaurant manager at the time reported that her ex-husband was at the restaurant and would not leave. Once on the scene, Sgt. Hutchens was led by the suspect on a short chase before opening fire at close range. The suspect also opened fire on Officer Daniel Clark before the suspect was fatally shot and killed on the scene.

Officer Clark and Sgt. Hutchens were both rushed to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Officer Clark survived his injuries but, despite all efforts from the medical staff, Sgt. Hutchens passed away five days later from his injuries. 

Since losing her husband in the line of duty eight years ago, Beth Hutchens has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and end the cycle of domestic violence in the community. Beth Hutchens, who was in attendance during the Day of Unity last Friday, said although no one has ever physically, emotionally or financially abused her, she is a patron of domestic abuse.

“I am collateral damage. There is a lot of collateral damage and a lot of families here that have been affected by domestic violence,” said Hutchens. “I want to ask you to do one thing for Mickey today; help her or him have a safe escape or a place to go. Don’t make them feel like they are trapped in that spot.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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