INDIANAPOLIS — A local family is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, as the friends and family of Autumn Garay, 20, gathered outside of the City County Building on Friday after police said she was shot and killed by her boyfriend in November.
“Autumn was a 20-year-old teacher who had her whole life ahead of her,” Amber Jaquez, Autumn’s sister said. “We didn't know until a little bit down the road that Autumn had endured years of abuse.”
Jaquez said her sister was a loving, kind and charismatic teacher who loved children. She was shot and killed in her own apartment,
“It's heartbreaking because domestic violence is 100% preventable, so Autumn did not have to die,” Kelly McBride, Executive Director at the Domestic Violence Network said.
McBride said they have seen a major increase in calls for help ever since the pandemic began.
“Domestic violence is being reported at a 200% increase, homicides are at a 100% increase, so we are still seeing the same and we're not certain right now if that's because there has been an increase in domestic violence or that is more people reporting,” McBride said.
That is why Jaquez is working to raise awareness that she hopes to inspire others in similar situations to reach out for help.
“All of what my family and I are going through, it's crucial for the world to see this because it's going to resonate with someone somewhere…and whether we save one life or 500 the goal is to save lives here,” Jaquez said.
She and her family plan to be out all weekend with signs and they’re hoping to connect people with resources they may need.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence you can call the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or go to https://www.thehotline.org/.
You can also dial 211 to be connected with resources in your area.