Sara Schmidt honored in domestic violence vigil

Published: Oct. 1, 2018 at 9:50 PM CDT
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With the start of October, so begins Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Monday night, a candlelight vigil honors those in Northeast Wisconsin who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.

2018’s honoree Sara Schmidt died on January 9.

Action 2 News reported that Schmidt was shot and killed by her husband Robert Schmidt, just days after she filed for divorce. Robert then died by suicide.

The couple left behind three kids: a fifth-grade boy and two girls, one in third-grade and another only 3-years-old.

“We wanted to take the time and the effort to share her story for her, since she doesn't get a chance to,” says Melanie Jayjack, a friend of Sara Schmidt.

On the very first night of Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, friends, family and violence advocates did just that – remembering the late mother.

“She’s our most recent homicide victim in our county. And we just felt it would be appropriate to honor and remember her,” says Melissa Gieble, Calumet County Outreach Coordinator for Harbor House Domestic Abuse Program.

A “silent witness” was made in Schmidt’s honor, representing another fallen women to the perils of domestic abuse.

1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime.

With that statistic, friends of Schmidt are working to bring awareness to her life.

“It was about keeping her close, so that he could make her believe that she needed him to survive,” Jayjack said in a speech honoring Schmidt. “Which is so unfortunate. Because if you knew Sara, you'd know that she was such an outgoing person.”

Friends honored her memory with a moment of silence, musical tribute and candlelight vigil.

But above all, friends of Sara Schmidt want other victims to know how important it is to reach out for help.

“We just want people to know that your friends don't care if you interrupt their life, if you interrupt any important moment in their life. If you are hurting, or if someone is hurting you,” says Schmidt’s friend, Melinda Clausen.

Domestic violence advocates say the most important thing victims can do is tell someone they are being abused.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.