Michelle Brown isn't around to tell her story. That's why two weeks ago, the Women's Center of San Joaquin County told her story for her as part of a message against domestic violence.
The 26-year-old and mother of a 5-year-old daughter was a victim of domestic violence, shot to death by her boyfriend after work while trying to break out of the abusive relationship.
A cardboard cutout in City Hall stood in memory of Michelle, a reminder of the message behind Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is October.
Domestic abuse is often a hidden crime. Though we see it in the police log, folks at the Women's Center say it's a crime that's vastly under-reported. And sometimes, when it becomes apparent, it's too late.
The cardboard figure outside the council chamber was just one more effort to encourage those who are suffering to step out of the shadows, and a reminder to everyone else about what can happen behind closed doors.