Muskogee Silent Witness Event Memorializes Domestic Violence Victims

Tuesday, October 9th 2012, 6:43 pm

Domestic violence is an epidemic, with one in four women experiencing it in their lifetime, and it can escalate before people realize what's happening.

That's what happened to Mindy Shatto in July, when she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

There are families in every city who have stories to tell about how domestic violence has impacted them. At a "Silent Witness" event Tuesday at Arrowhead Mall, in Muskogee, Amy Hightower told her aunt's story.

"Mindy is not here, but she would want someone to say that enough is enough," Hightower said.

7/27/2012 Related Story: Two Dead In Warner Murder-Suicide; Young Child Calls 911

Shatto was killed in July in her Warner apartment. She was shot by an ex-boyfriend, who then killed himself. Her seven-year-old daughter found their bodies and called 911.

Now, her family members have become witnesses, who can say what happened to Shatto is more common than you might think.

"I never, in a million years, ever thought that and she didn't, either, think that he was capable of this," said Joyce Totty, Mindy Shatto's mother.

Hightower read a letter from Shatto's best friend about what happened, leading up to her death.

"He abused her physically and mentally for months. One night, he tortured her all night long," Hightower said.

Totty said she's cried a lot in the last few months, but now wants to help other families, so she comes to events like this to tell people to take the warning signs seriously.

"You have to get help," said Muskogee Police Officer Seth Paris.

Paris said he believes everyone knows someone who is abused.

"Help that person. You'll regret it for the rest of your life, if you don't," Paris said.

The event held Tuesday was put on by the Women In Safe Home (WISH) shelter in Muskogee, in honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Visit the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault website for a list of women's shelters in Oklahoma and more information about how you can be a witness for victims of domestic violence.

10/9/2012 Related Story: Philbrook Museum Screening Film For Domestic Violence Awareness Day