MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Police respond to nearly 20,000 domestic violence calls each year. Several of them came from a 31-year-old woman who died earlier this month at the hands of her abuser.
Now, WREG has learned she skipped an event aimed at empowering domestic violence survivors the night before her violent death.
“On October 6 we did a ‘Simply Loving You’ fundraiser for domestic and intimate partner violence," said Latricia Thomas with the group Soldiers Walking with Jesus Christ.
She said local organizations and churches connected her with domestic violence survivors, including Amanda Petrowski. Records showed Amanda Petrowski reported her boyfriend Santrez Taylor multiple times to police for domestic violence.
Thomas invited Petrowski to her event as a VIP; she got businesses to sponsor 50 tickets for survivors like her.
But when she looked in the audience, she realized most of the domestic violence survivors, including Petrowski, didn’t show.
“We thought maybe they were ashamed, don’t know how it was explained to them," Thomas said.
“Victims of domestic violence are often still being stalked by offenders; being followed and tracked still under constant threat even after they’ve reported,” said Sandy Bromley with the Shelby County Crime Victims Center and Rape Crisis Center.
Then by Monday, Thomas heard the news that Petrowski had died. Police say Petrowski’s boyfriend ran over her with a car and attacked her with a brick.
“As the event planner, it shook my soul. I wanted to say where did we go wrong? What do we do? 'What ifs' are there in my mind. What if she’d come and heard something? For Amanda, we gotta do more,” Thomas said.
That’s why she says they’re donating $1,000 in Petrowski’s name to Agape Child and Family Services and they’re focusing on the need for resources. Experts say Shelby County doesn’t have enough emergency shelters.
"That can be a hindrance because no place for someone to stay and they’d rather be in a violent relationship than homeless," Bromley said.
They hope that can make a difference before it’s too late for someone else.
The Crime Victims Center is also holding a free event Wednesday night at Levitt Shell. Respect 2 Connect teaches kids about healthy relationships to prevent domestic violence in the future.