Saturday, March 11, 2006

In Memoriam

A year ago today, I lost a friend and colleague. I work for an international women's organization that specializes in training judicial personnel on international, regional and domestic human rights treaties and conventions. My friend oversaw several of the programs.

I got a call around 11:45 AM or so from Fox 5 News. One of their
reporters was researching the story and he was the one who broke the news to me that she was dead. At first, I just thought that it was some twisted prank call. Another colleague, went to her house to check and came back with confirmation.

We had just had an event on the night before celebrating the survival of two women from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the staff were there. She was so beautiful that night. She was really happy. She was going through a separation with her husband and he had been such an asshole through the entire process. But on that night, she seemed to finally be moving forward. She had applied for a new appartment and would receive word about it the next day. She had finally gotten to a place where she felt like she was free of her husband. And he killed her that night.

It still doesn't seem real sometimes, even after a year. Her husband was arraigned on first degree murder charges, tried and convicted on second degree murder with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 24 years in jail.

It doesn't seem fair, 24 years for taking a life.

She is survived by her four children, three boys and one girl; her brother, sister-in-law and niece; and her parents. And by all of those who knew her and were touched by her. After her death, we received messages of condolence from all over the world.

She worked everyday so that women would have recourse from domestic violence in developing countries. She was the one who coordinated our programs in Africa and Central America. She was the sole breadwinner in her family. She worked, took care of her four children, volunteered and somehow found the time to make beautiful jewelry. She was educated; she was a feminist; she was living in one of the most prosperous nations in the world, a place that prides itself in the rule of law and order and security.

In her memory,
I work harder than ever in the cause for women's rights, for a world free of domestic violence.


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