People ‘Take Back the Night’ at UJ
Women and men gathered together Monday to shed light on the problem of domestic violence as part of the Take Back the Night event Monday at the University of Jamestown.
About 30 people carrying glow-sticks and pairs of shoes representing domestic violence victims in Stutsman County walked from Voorhees Chapel to the gates of the college, quietly singing “This Little Light of Mine.”
The walk followed an opening prayer from Kayla Price and a viewing of part of a video campaign against domestic violence, as well as a presentation from Cindy Grimm of the Life After Fear Organization.
Grimm is one of 10 women in North Dakota’s Life After Fear group — survivors of domestic violence who speak out about the issue to others.
“I never talked to anyone about what was going on with me,” Grimm said, recalling her physically and emotionally abusive husband.
Her story began when she and the man who became her husband were school-age sweethearts.
Even then, there were warning signs, Grimm said. He was jealous. He stalked her. When she wanted to break up, he’d threaten himself and say “I might as well be dead.”
“Pay attention to these red flag things,” she advised, such as when a partner is jealous or tries to keep you from friends and family.
Six months into their marriage, her husband hit Grimm for the first time.
Later, he broke a heavy yard stick into several pieces while using it to hit her. At that point, she fought back, and then told him she would leave if he hit her again.
While the beatings stopped, the emotional abuse didn’t. He called Grimm names and, over a period of years, convinced her she was worthless.
“After a few years, they convince you you aren’t worth anything,” she said. “… I started feeling like I might as well be dead.”
She was married 20 years, with two children, when she started divorce proceedings after her son told her he didn’t want to live that way anymore.
A week after the final divorce papers were served, her former husband came to Grimm’s home and killed himself in front of her.
“I lived with that guilt for several years,” she said. “… bad things do happen to good people.”
Since then, Grimm has remarried.
“There is life after fear,” she said.
Help is available for victims of domestic and sexual violence. People can call Safe Shelter’s 24-hour crisis line at 251-2300 or 888-353-7233, or visit www.safeshelterjamestown. org.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at email@example.com