By Ivan Cazares
About 100 people gathered in memory of Jamay Michelle Sticca at the football stadium on Saturday. Sticca was a victim of domestic violence and was murdered in 2008.
East Side Spirit and Pride (ESSP) Club adviser and uncle of Sticca Dennis Sanchez was the first of several speakers to stand in front of the crowd.
Sanchez thanked everyone present and introduced Sticca’s parents, Ron Sanchez and Jackie Joo, who traveled from Sacramento to attend. A sign expressing people’s condolences was presented to Sticca’s parents.
The Rev. Mark Torres from Homeboy Industries also took to the podium. “Thank you for taking seriously something that needs to be taken seriously,” said Torres.
Torres cited Buddhist teachings and said that acknowledging suffering is the first step in overcoming it. He then led everyone in a moment of prayer.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
Among the speakers was Athletic Director Al Cone, who emphasized the need for males to be a part of the solution. The NCADV states, “boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partner and children when they become adults.”
Psychology Professor Jody Adewale, Psy.D., explained a big part of the problem is the state of mind of young people.
“I was talking to a group of students about the Ray Rice incident. I asked them what they thought about what Rice did and was surprised when some of them asked what his wife did, as if hitting her could be justified somehow,” said Adewale. “Domestic violence is never justified.”
Sticca’s mother was the next to speak. Joo encouraged those present to never give up on their goals. Sticca was a dedicated nursing student and worked full-time, Joo said.
After Joo spoke, two domestic violence victims shared their stories. One of them was a young woman who’s the same age Sticca would have been. An estimated 1.3 million women experience domestic violence in the United States every year.
Joo and step brother Damian Sanchez described her as being a feisty girl. “She would have been the loudest one in the crowd,” they both said.
“I looked up to my sister. She always looked out for me. She wouldn’t even let boys talk to me,” Teylor Sanchez, her younger sister, said. In memory of her older sister, Teylor got a lion tattoo, which incorporates Sticca’s favorite color, her initials and hair which Teylor compared to a lions’ mane.
Adewale said getting out of an abusive relationship is difficult because it becomes a cycle consisting of three stages.
“It starts with the honeymoon stage; then the stepping on eggshells stage, which is when the victim is fearful of their partner’s reactions; and finally the explosion stage.This is when the perpetrator physically abuses their partner. It then starts all over again,” Adewale said.
Participants walked around the perimeter of stadium and twice around the track. The crowd was lively and interacted with each other and Sticca’s family.
Adewale ended the meeting by asking everyone to stand up and “make some noise,” instead of the traditional moment of silence.