Domestic violence victims remembered with new memorial

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Nineteen lives will forever be linked to a memorial in Harrisburg.

A new garden pathway in Harrisburg honors area victims of domestic violence.

Crisp autumn air mirrored sharp emotions Thursday morning as several dozen people gathered at the Camp Curtain Memorial Garden to unveil a new pathway.

Although pink dominates October for breast cancer awareness, the color purple is just as important this month, which is also dedicated to domestic violence awareness and prevention.

Jen Storm with Dauphin County's Victim Witness and Services program was instrumental in making sure victims like Tarina Fields-Price are not forgotten. Her godmother, Angela Parker-Quarles, emotionally recounted a cold day in December 2011.

“Murdered by her husband, the father of her two youngest boys, the man who claimed he loved her,” she said choking back tears. “Again, love does not hurt.”

Parker-Quarles was one of 19 families who came out to the dedication ceremony.

Storm lifted a painting of a purple ribbon and revealed 19 separate bricks. One-by-one, she read the names out loud. Families began to grab paper and etch their loved one's name with a charcoal pencil.

Guadalupe Peach and her daughter Isabelle traveled to Harrisburg from Seattle. The Peach family was stunned in 2007 when Marisa Peach was killed by her fiancé. Peach said it was too painful to etch her daughter's name, but she felt her daughter's presence.

“She is here,” Peach said. “You feel that spirit continues with you. It's emotional, very emotional.”

Peach said she hopes her loss will be a lesson to those battling abusive relationships. She said her daughter's death already has encouraged three women in the Seattle area to seek help.

Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick III said it's important for people in abusive relationships to immediately seek help.

“Abusers often promise it won't happen again, but it does,” he said, “again, again, again, again.”

The day of reflection doubled as a day of warning. The hope is that the 19 lives lost are not only tales of tragedy, but tales of prevention.

“If you see, hear, know or suspect, reach out and speak up,” Parker-Quarles said.

 

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