There is more than one missing mother in the Chicagoland area and probably more than the ones pictured here. We will not forget them and will continue to carry their messages until they are found.
Over a year has passed since Stacy Cales Peterson whispered to her sister Cassandra Cales that if she disappeared it was not an accident that "He killed her", over a year since she went missing without a trace leaving behind her babies, her home, her family, her friends, and almost a year since the body of Kathleen Savio was exhumed and her once called accidental death declared a homicide. These women, one now a victim of homicide who left behind a haunting plea for help to the state begging for help before he killed her, and one who begged her sister to find her if she disappeared because she feared for her life, as different as their cases are today -do have common ground. Both women were married to Drew Peterson, both women feared for their lives, both women tried to get help and get away, and both women were too late.
We, who gathered together to remember these women, who heard their voices only after they were gone, have vowed to make sure they are never forgotten, and that their names and stories live on. We are determined to see justice served.
Both of these mothers cried for help to a combination of their communities; family, friends, clergy, the police, the state, complete strangers, and in the end there was no one who could, or would protect them. The only voice they have been given is the media who has made them headline news. And so they have become the faces and the stories of thousands of women the media has passed over, a reminder that this can happen to any of us, or someone we know.
Domestic violence is unacceptable in our society, a plague which haunts behind closed doors, sunglasses and long sleeve shirts, often a well known dirty secret that no one talks about. We are determined to let victims know that there are options, there are ways to get out safely, there is help. But we have to reach them before it's too late.
Had someone helped Kathleen Savio or Stacy Peterson, had they heard their cries for help instead of turning their heads and pretending not to see- had someone listened and believed- taken the time to find out what could be done, or to change what could be done- we might not ever have known their names. They would be here today and four beautiful children would still have their moms.
These children deserve the truth, they deserve justice and the knowledge and comfort of knowing their mothers loved them very much and would be here with them if they could be. These children deserve to hear their mother's voice. They deserve the truth. They deserve our help. They deserve your help.
Speak out for those who can no longer speak for themselves!
Please take the time to become involved in your community. Contact your elected officials, make your voice heard, make your vote count on election day. Find out what you can do to help these women and others like them. Find out what you can do to prevent these crimes. Find out what you can do to demand justice. Take action.
But most importantly find out what your politicians and officials are doing to protect you and your loved ones, and to seek justice for these women. Make sure your voice is one they cannot ignore, it could happen to you or someone you love.
Jeri Lynn Duvall