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Tonawanda garden dedicated to domestic violence victims

Ashley Hirtzel

Construction of a ‘Tribute Garden’ in honor of domestic violence victims and survivors is underway at Isle View Park. Local officials broke ground on the garden in Tonawanda on Monday.

The garden contains a ‘Tribute Wall’ filled with bricks and stones dedicated to those who have died at the hands of domestic violence abusers. According to the Centers for Disease Control one out of every four women is physically assaulted by their partner annually in the United States.

Commissioner of Public Advocacy Sawrie Becker says the garden will help raise awareness and hopefully, prevent more victims.

“It will be a lasting reminder to our community that we take a stand against domestic violence and that we will stand up to those who perpetrate it, as well as stand up for those who cannot speak up for themselves,” said Becker.

Domestic violence is in the national spotlight, due to the elevator assault committed by Baltimore Ravens

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
This brick is in memory of Jackie Wisniewski, who was murdered at ECMC by her ex-boyfriend Timothy Jordens in June 2012.

player Ray Rice on his then-fiancée.

David Wisniewski is the brother of Jackie Wisniewski, who was murdered at ECMC by her ex-boyfriend in June 2012. Wisniewski says the tipping point for domestic violence will be when it’s looked at as a men’s issue, not a women’s issue.

“Before all of this happened, I often thought of this is a women’s issue, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If men are the perpetrators in such alarming numbers than this is a men’s issue. I’ve been asked to speak to numerous groups. Never once have I been asked to speak in front of men. It’s always women, and that is something that is extremely alarming to me. We need to call out men and as men we need to stand up and say 'I will not abuse' and 'I won’t let abuse happen,'" said Wisniewski.

The total cost of the project, $250,000, is being funded through Erie County and through donations. Phase one of the Tribute Garden will be complete by September 27th.  The entire garden will be complete in Spring 2015.