Joann was violently sexually assaulted by her husband for more than 20 years. The abuse was so severe her (now ex) husband, Stephen, threatened to cut her with a knife during the assaults and refused to let her sleep for days at a time.
Joann broke the cycle of violence by trusting, by coming forward and telling her story to police. Her husband’s sexual assault conviction landed him a sentence of eight years to life in the Department of Corrections.
Joann – and 14 other domestic violence survivors – were celebrated by all Jefferson County law enforcement agencies, district attorneys office, courts and victim advocacy agencies at the Phoenix Breakfast on October 1, 2008.
“Through this celebration, we want to send a strong message to victims of domestic violence living in our community that law enforcement is committed to helping abuse victims end the cycle of violence in their lives,” said Det. Rebecca Allanson, domestic violence detective for the Arvada Police Department.
With about 80% of homicides in Jefferson County being domestic-violence related (2004 stats), addressing this crime has become a priority. “This is about homicide prevention” said Det. Rebecca Allanson.
“Domestic violence has been shrouded in a cloak of secrecy for too long,” said Det. Allanson. “Many believe what goes on between closed doors is between the couple; however, I believe it’s time to stand together as a community and declare this behavior as unacceptable.”