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McCluskey walk domestic violence
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Lauren McCluskey Memorial Walk brings attention to domestic violence

Family and friends of Lauren McCluskey held a walk at the University of Utah to raise awareness about domestic violence on the second anniversary of her death. (Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Friends and family of Lauren McCluskey, as well as several University of Utah students, raised awareness about domestic violence during The Lauren McCluskey Memorial Walk at the school. 

 

The walk came two years to the day an ex-boyfriend murdered McCluskey on campus. 

Those at the Lauren McCluskey Memorial Walk did a lap around the school’s track and signed Lauren’s Promise, a pledge to believe domestic violence victims when they come forward. 

Tastan Sperling, a friend of Lauren McCluskey’s, said he walked to encourage women to speak up. 

“I just want to reach out and tell a lot of women that, ‘Don’t be afraid to come out and seek help.’ That’s the biggest thing. Women go through so much abuse [and] harassment,” Sperling said. 

Another focus of the walkers was campus police, who many say ignored McCluskey’s cries for help. 

Ayana Amaechi, the Vice President of University Relations for the Student Body, is not always comfortable on campus. 

“There’s times where I’ve felt a little unsafe on campus,” Amaechi said. “Just speaking from my own personal experiences, it’s not a good feeling. And for one person to not feel safe, I think, that that’s enough to make a change.” 

Domestic violence survivor Caroline Lalliss does not fully trust campus police to keep her safe.

“They have really shown me that they do not do their job well in regards to believing women and believing survivors and victims,” Lalliss said.  

However, she also wants to shift society’s focus on confronting domestic violence abusers. 

“Police isn’t the answer. I don’t think increasing lights on campus is the answer, either. I think prevention, education, and intervention is really what we need,” Lalliss said.