Newswise — PHILADELPHIA (October 23, 2012) — More than seven years after his 21-year-old daughter was brutally murdered by her boyfriend, Bill Mitchell still gets choked up. "I wake up each morning to a framed portrait of Kristin and I pray to her, and for her," he says. "If there is one good thing that has come from our pain, it's knowing that Kristin's story has saved others from suffering a similar fate."
On Saturday, Nov. 3, Kristin's friends, family and members of the Saint Joseph's University community will join Bill for the seventh Kristin's Krusade, a 5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. on the University's campus. This annual event is an opportunity to raise awareness, remember Kristin, and celebrate the success of the Kristin Mitchell Foundation. In addition to education, scholarship and outreach, the non-profit is responsible for awarding grants to agencies working to educate teens and young adults about the warning signs and potential dangers of unhealthy dating relationships.
Known for her smile and positive outlook on life, Kristin, a 2005 graduate of Saint Joseph's, was about to begin a career with a nationally recognized food marketing company when she was stabbed repeatedly while attempting to break up with her boyfriend on June 3, 2005, in Conshohocken, Pa. Since then, Bill, and his wife Michele, share their daughter's story, and warn young adults of the dangers of dating violence.
According to the Kristin Mitchell Foundation's website, www.kristinskrusade.org, one in three teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or otherwise physically hurt by their partner. Twenty-four percent of 14- to 17-year-olds know at least one student who has been the victim of dating violence, yet only 81 percent of parents either believe teen dating violence is not an issue, or admit they don’t know if it is an issue.
"Unfortunately, people aren’t convinced dating violence is as prevalent as it is," says Bill. "Legislators, educators, parents, students… so many don't want to believe the statistics. And they don’t think it could happen to them or their family."
While the Kristin Mitchell Foundation remains committed to advancing legislation which would require domestic violence education in high schools, Bill says the organization's greatest successes have been measured in the lives Kristin's story has saved.
"Occasionally, I'll have someone email me or come up to me at the walk and tell me that hearing Kristin's story has had an impact on getting them out of a bad dating situation," says Bill. "I always hoped the day would come when something that good would happen. The whole purpose, the reason we're out here doing this, is to help other young women and save lives."