The day after Karen Beck was murdered in Maple Ridge by her husband, her family committed to never give up the fight against domestic violence.
Five years later, they continue through an organization called Never Give Up to raise money, collect resources, and reach out to people who they think might be in trouble.
And they continue to give their support to Cythera Transition House Society, where Karen Beck fled to.
"Karen is in our thoughts all the time," said her brother Adam Frisch, who came with his sister Darlene Dorchak to Maple Ridge on Friday to talk about their sister and how they are trying to honour her memory.
Over the past five years, the brother and sister have told their sister's story wherever possible, and their mandate has evolved into "never miss an opportunity" - which might mean handing a card to strangers in Starbucks who sound like they're having relationship problems.
"When you see an opportunity, you have to step up," Dorchak said.
Karen made a commitment when she got married, a commitment to her marriage and to God, Dorchak said, and when she eventually left her husband, it was "traumatic" for her.
"That equated to failure on her part," Frisch said.
Karen's husband was the "love of her life," Dorchak said, and she was very strong to turn against that.
That feeling of failure is a really common for women leaving marriages, said Cythera program director Heather Halliday, because when they marry it is a life-long commitment, often solidified by faith, belief, and culture.
But that feeling of failure is also tied in with emotional abuse that they have suffered.
"Really, it's not their failure," she said. Today (Nov. 15) marks five years since Karen was murdered by her husband who then committed suicide.
"It's unfortunate there are so many people who can say they've walked in those shoes," Dorchak said.
In order to break the cycle, Dorchak said youth need to be educated and the topic of domestic violence needs to be talked about in order to remove the shame surrounding it. And women need to know there are resources available like Cythera House.
People also need to be called on their behaviour, Dorchak added.
"If you hear something, say something, if you see something, do something," Frisch said.
Cythera offers programs for mothers with young children who have witnessed violence, to foster healthy attachment, and learn a new model of relationships, Halliday said.
"If there's a problem in our neighbourhoods, workplaces, cities. we have to stand up together," said Dorchak. "When one person stands up, it makes it easier for another person to stand up."
Dorchak and Frisch have been raising money for women's shelters, and to date, since the death of their sister, they have raised $318,000.
They have also been developing their website www.never-give-up.ca based on all the things their sister told them that she wished she had known, for example, what is abuse, how to make a safety plan, and where can help be found.
In addition to providing shelter to women and children at their transition house,
Cythera offers counselling for people leaving abusive relationships.
For more information about Cythera Transitional House Society, go to www. cythera.ca.
@ Copyright 2013