Arkansas State University remembers victims of domestic violence with candlelight vigil

Arkansas State University remembers victims of domestic violence with candlelight vigil

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Diamond C. Ebron was just 17 years old when she was gunned down in her Jonesboro front yard by boyfriend, Kenneth Thomas.

After the shooting, Thomas left the property and was later pulled over by police.

As the vehicle was approached by authorities, a single gunshot was heard. Thomas had killed himself.

Ebron is one of ten Arkansas women murdered during an act of domestic violence last year.

Each victim will be personally memorialized during a vigil Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Arkansas State University's Heritage Plaza beginning at 7 p.m.

Earlier in the day, students are urged to take the "Hands are for Helping Pledge" from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Natural State Lounge.

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, there's a presentation called, "Fact or Myth," inside the Natural State Lounge.

"On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., there will be a bystander intervention training for people who are interested in becoming part of a community that can look out for each other," Dr. Phil Hestand, director of the ASU Counseling Center, said. "Thursday night, we have a self-defense training in conjunction with the University Police Department. ASU Counseling Center and the University Police Department are sponsoring the events."

"This can happen to young men, too," Dr. Hestand said. "I think in the beginning, in that honeymoon phase, there is not violence. Several months later, it's after the relationship is established. I think when it occurs, there's usually some apologies and some make-up time. There's some investment in the relationship and it becomes hard to leave the relationship."

The Silent Witness Project will be on display each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. inside the Natural State Lounge through Thursday.

"It was developed in 1995 by the Arkansas Coalition against Domestic Violence," Kristy Russell, counselor with the ASU Counseling Center, said. "Basically, the wooden, plywood cutouts represent each women in the state of Arkansas that was murdered by a spouse or significant other."

Each cut-out tells the story of a victim of domestic violence.

The theme of the week at Arkansas State is "Choose Respect."

The ASU Counseling Center has combined the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault into a week-long observance on campus.

The public is encouraged to join the ASU campus community and participate in the memorial on Tuesday night.

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