Remembering Domestic Violence Victims Among The Trees

I recently had the honor of visiting a rural domestic violence shelter where I was shown something that impacted me significantly. I’m unable to say which shelter or where in Kentucky it is located due to safety concerns for its residents who have fled dangerous situations. But here is what I can tell you:

In a peaceful space, tucked back in the lush green of the shelter’s backyard is a tiny forest. The trees are spaced evenly apart and the grass and trees are meticulously kept. There are benches, birdbaths and flower gardens. Trellises boast growing vines and a white picket fence sits quietly in the corner. In front of each tree stands a plaque. You see, this forest, with its meandering walkway, is a memorial garden. Each tree has been planted in honor and memory of a deceased victim of domestic violence. The plaques depict the names of women, men and even little children from the community that suffered the effects of these crimes.

I was strongly impacted by the space. While it is truly beautiful and serene, it is also a visual reminder of the many crimes that occur in our Kentucky communities. The crimes that sometimes result in death.

Seeing this tangible representation of victimization, standing in the shade of the tree dedicated to a little boy, my resolve to pass Marsy’s Law was hardened. While no one law will prevent horrendous crimes like these from occurring, Marsy’s Law will help provide surviving family members of murder victims a voice in a justice system that all too often forgets them- forgets they are suffering and forgets they often need to feel heard in order to heal. I hope you’ll join me.