To the editor:
Two years ago, on July 3, Jana Mackey, a Lawrence-area women’s rights activist, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, a man known to have a history of domestic violence. She was a law student at KU, a lobbyist for the National Organization for Women, and a volunteer advocate for sexual assault victims. The impact Jana had on the Lawrence community is readily apparent, and her tragic story only accentuates the necessity of her efforts as a women’s rights activist.
In 2009, 34 adults and 14 children were victims of domestic violence related-homicides in Kansas, and nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.
Executive Director Sarah Terwelp of the Willow Domestic Violence Center said, “In memory of Jana, we ask that the community focus accountability for domestic violence where it belongs — with the abuser. Survivors need opportunities or assistance and support — instead they are often blamed for picking the wrong partner. Let us shift this responsibility to the appropriate party by holding the abuser accountable for the abuse.”
Jana’s mother, Christie Brungardt, told me that after her daughter’s passing she found a document with Jana’s key values written on it. They were: work for quality of life for all people and have the courage to stand up for what you believe. I would like to adopt these values for myself and challenge others to do the same.