Ceremony at Missouri capitol recognizes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, an observance during which people recognize the rights of victims of crime and advocate for things they go through.

A ceremony was held Thursday at the Missouri Capitol in recognition of the week. People from all over Missouri, including Springfield, gathered for the ceremony.

Janice Gehre, a survivor of domestic violence, spoke at the event.

”After going through it myself, I really learned that there were a lot of problems and obstacles, what I assumed would be the path to escape, and a freedom to safety was not at all what I thought it was,” said Gehre.

Her ex-husband is serving time for a shooting in 2016.

“That really thrust us forward into a process where our lives were truly in danger. If he was not held accountable for those actions, all of our lives were in grave danger,” said Gehre.

She says National Crime Victims’ Rights Week lets survivors know they aren’t alone.

”It’s a good calling, and reminding everybody of all the things that we are still fighting for. When victims are able to come and share their stories, it really brings it home for so many people to understand that it’s not as easy as the general public assumes,” said Gehre.

Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson was also among those who spoke at the event.

”It’s one of the things that’s important to remember ,and this event reminds us every victim is different. So they’re all affected by the crime in different ways. And so the most important lesson, I think, is first to listen,” said Patterson.

He says the desire for public service is what drove him to be a prosecutor.

”I became a prosecutor because I’ve always been driven towards public service. As a prosecutor, our charge is different from any other attorney. We don’t zealously represent a single client, but our job is to seek justice,” said Patterson.

For those out their struggling, have hope.

”There is hope, It is hard. And this is not because of anything you have done or not done. This is somebody else’s choice to harm you,” said Gehre.

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