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McHenry County Turning Point » A letter from a survivor

A letter from a survivor

A letter to the editor of the McDonough Voice from the daughter of a woman killed in a domestic violence incident:

Dear Editor,

My name is Kiryn Evans, the only daughter of Kathryn Baxter Simmons, a fatal victim of domestic violence. I used to live in Nauvoo, IL and had my name changed from Kristi Simmons to Kiryn Evans in 2005, after the trial was over. My mother was a registered nurse at McDonough District Hospital (MDH) in Macomb, IL for twelve years before her death in 2003. She had struggled with domestic violence for over twenty five years and succumbed to it on March 26, 2003. It had started long before she married Kevin Simmons in 1978; he unfortunately is my biological father and is now serving a 45 year sentence at Pontiac Correctional Facility for first degree murder. Domestic violence often starts in the dating years before marriage and children. My mother was taken to Carthage Memorial Hospital where she was unconscious; she was then flown to OSF Medical Center but the medics had to stop at MDH to allow for emergency surgery. She later died at OSF, where I now work as a RN.

I write this every year for many reasons-my own healing journey, to take a stand against domestic violence, and to hopefully give at least one person strength to leave and save themselves or their children. There are some who say I do it to gain sympathy because I just want people to feel sorry for me and I need to just let it all go. As many mental health therapists know, my husband included, is that trauma and abuse are not just let go. Abuse can be processed, dealt with, and have a place found for it or it can be denied, shoved aside, and never dealt with. I chose to deal with it at age 19, when I put myself in therapy for the first time after I had a flashback at work of Kevin sexually abusing me. That was the start of a very long journey for me. I chose to get help and address the abuse so that I would not end up a fatal victim like my mother; I chose to fight it and speak out against it, not shove it aside and “let it go.” I am now a registered nurse, completing a master’s degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner and also completing training to become a sexual assault nurse examiner. How does any of that indicate I want people to feel sorry for me?

Domestic violence does not exist or occur in a bubble, as many think or want to think it does. Many people do not want to acknowledge that domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual abuse occurs in every single community in this country; some of those homes it occurs in are prominent members of society and no one wants to believe that. Domestic violence is not just a family problem-it is a societal and community problem and everyone needs to help fight it. Communities need to take a stand against all types of violence, help those who are suffering, and hold the perpetrators responsible!

“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time. Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable. We can put a stop to this.” - Nicole Kidman.

I always end with one of Maya Angelou’s quotes; she was also a sexual abuse survivor. “Surviving is important, thriving is elegant.”

Kiryn Evans, RN, BSN,
Graduate Student

Peoria

April 23 2012 02:26 pm | Programs

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