Woman helping domestic violence victims
January 24, 2008
GRAND RAPIDS -- A woman whose life has been touched by domestic violence has started a Web site to help other victims. Authorities say Pam Aukerman Brainard was killed in November 2007 in a murder-suicide involving her husband - Plainwell Police Officer Kevin Brainard.
Jennifer Drake, Pam's sister, told 24 Hour News 8 Pam tried to go to shelters for victims of domestic violence but wasn't helped because her husband was a police officer.
"They knew the extent of my sister's situation and they did nothing," said Drake.
Pam was 32 and is survived by two kids. Drake is hoping to make a difference for people like Pam, whom she says need a way out.
"If it wasn't a police officer involved, they would be holding that person's hand, getting them the restraining orders, PPOs, walking them through step by step to get them safely out of that home," said Drake.
She says another case is eerily similar to Pam's incident.
According to authorities, Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine confessed to killing his wife, Lori, earlier this month. Ken will be in court Friday.
"It has just torn me up. And their poor children; they're teenagers...And my nephew is 15, and I see what he's going through," said Drake.
Drake's Web site is a blog detailing her journey. It also has links to national sites with information for survivors of domestic violence.
"She had two children and I had two children, and she was right beside me the whole way. I mean, we're sisters. We were, you know, soulmates. And I have lost a big part of my life," said Drake.
Drake hopes to spark a change.
"We need a place where if they walk in that door and say that they're being abused, regardless of who it is, what it is, you know, they are going to get that help," Drake said.
24 Hour News 8 called various police departments to see how they deal with domestic violence situations. They told us the incidents differ from department to department, and they are handled on case-by-case bases.
CORRECTION: PAM AUKERMAN BRAINARD WEBSITE CREATOR/MAINTAINER IS NOT RELATED TO PAM'S FAMILY.