2015-07-11 / Front Page

In memory of Cheri

Cheri Baker Shalkowski Cheri Baker Shalkowski One family’s tragedy has inspired an annual observance designed to shine a spotlight on the often-hidden epidemic of domestic violence.

“Our goal is to promote awareness and prevent this ordeal from happening to another family,” explained David Shalkowski, whose sister lost her life on July 13, 2008, during a murder/suicide in the village of Roulette.

Roulette’s Domestic Violence Awareness Day is held each year in memory of Cheri Baker Shalkowski.

David Shalkowski, their mother Betty, and other family members and friends established the annual observance in the same town where they lost their loved one.

Cheri was 29 when her estranged husband committed the ultimate act of domestic violence. She was shot and killed as she arrived at her estranged husband’s home to discuss custody arrangements for their young son. He then turned the gun on himself.

David Shalkowski believes that police, elected officials and the courts could all do more to prevent domestic disputes from escalating into acts of extreme violence.

He recommends tougher penalties for abusers and closer scrutiny of domestic violence by police officers, social service agencies and others who are in a position to recognize it. Additionally, those who are being victimized need to know that there is help available.

Shalkowski suggests that education on domestic violence start in schools.

“Jealousy that can lead to acts of violence often starts when teenaged couples are dating,” David pointed out. “Unhealthy patterns that develop early in a relationship can grow to become acts of violence and other abuse.”

“As a society, we can do better,” he continued. “That goes for public education and a realization by people in a position to intervene that they must not look the other way.”

“If we can save one life by holding this event, it’s all worth it,” Shalkowski said. “I’m sure Cheri would be very proud and appreciative to have this done in her memory. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence -- not just women, but men, children, parents and grandparents. We should never take it lightly. We should always take seriously the warning signs and the cries for help. And people need to know where to turn to get that help.”

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