TOLEDO, Ohio — Representatives for the Bethany House, a domestic violence shelter for northwest Ohio, want people to know domestic violence can happen to anyone, anywhere.
On Saturday, 31-year-old Travis Lewton told police he killed his 71-year-old mother in their south Toledo home.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library partnered with the Bethany House to hold a ceremony for its Northwest Ohio Silent Witness Project on Monday night.
The project unveils community exhibits to honor victims of domestic violence and share their stories through life-size silhouettes. Each one of the over 50 silhouettes shows the fatal outcomes of domestic violence in an effort to educate the community, advocate for solutions and connect those in need to resources.
Bethany House's Executive Director, Deidra Lashley, said the showcase shows only the reported cases in northwest Ohio from 2010. Not every case is reported.
Lashley said the effects of domestic violence can be present in areas with any socioeconomic background and the death of Nancy Lewton is an example of that.
"A lot of times, we will see the splash of news that a homicide has happened and we kind of go on with our days and don't realize the magnitude or impact that domestic violence is having in our community," Lashley said.
Dr. Christie Jenkins, the CEO of the Family Abuse and Child Prevention Center, said abuse can take many forms and happen to anyone.
"It happens across the board. It happens to men, it happens to women, it happens to children, it happens to the elderly. I think that folks that don't know that or feel that and something like this past weekend happens," she said of Nancy's death.
Seven of the 46 homicides in Toledo this year have been the result of domestic violence. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday he is awarding $6.7 million to domestic violence resources in the state.
Most of the grant money will be used to create a mobile advocacy and health care project to serve domestic violence victims and their families. Just over $1.5 million will also be used to house survivors and their children in hotels.