Letter: Acts of violence have no place in our communities


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

A line of 197 chairs lined the sidewalk leading from the Margaret Sloss House to the Memorial Union on Central Campus on Oct. 16, 2014. Each of the 197 chairs represented every man, woman and child in Iowa who has lost his or her life to domestic violence since January 1995.

Annie Randolph and Emily Barske

We are deeply saddened and angered following last week’s tragic shooting at Cornerstone Church in Ames. Our hearts are with the loved ones of Eden Mariah Montang and Vivian Renee Flores, the church community, the Iowa State and Ames communities and all those affected by the senseless loss of life. 

The Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) is here for our community. For those who are in shock and need a place for support with their grief after this tragedy, our victim advocates are available. 

Violence has no place in our community — although it takes up entirely too much space. One in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience physical violence by their intimate partner at some point during their lifetimes, according to the CDC. Our communities are unfortunately not immune. Last year, ACCESS served over 11,000 individuals, with over 5,000 of those residing in Story County. 

We want to break the cycle of violence. Our staff work to address the roots and impact of domestic and sexual violence through services that enhance safety, empower survivors and promote understanding and social justice within our community. 

To end this cycle, we must speak out against power-based roles in relationships and toxic behavior that too often is normalized. We must recognize the importance of teaching children healthy habits because many of the learned behaviors of perpetrators are picked up as kids. We must support survivors and stop all forms of victim-blaming and place the blame back onto the perpetrators. We must speak up as bystanders and lend a hand. Violence affects everyone, and it’s up to each of us to play a role in keeping our communities safe.

Everyone deserves to experience a life full of love — free from intimidation and abuse. It takes all of us to make that a reality. 

If you are in need of support, our 24-hour helplines are as follows:

Sexual Abuse Crisis Line: 1.800.203.3488 

Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1.855.983.4641 

Shelter Services Crisis Line: 1.855.696.2980