BOURBONNAIS – A handful of people turned out for a candlelight vigil Sunday night for the Menz family in front of their home in the 700 block of Cherokee Drive.
Alexis Menz, the daughter of Larry Menz Jr. and Ruth Menz, briefly spoke during the vigil about her time growing up in a domestic violence filled home in Bourbonnais, and what it means to feel safe in a community.
“She was horribly failed that night by people in our community that are supposed to protect us,” Alexis Menz said to the start of the vigil. “When I think about her and her fear in her final moments and that no one came in for her.“
Bourbonnais Police arrived to the home during the late hours June 10th and made contact with Alexis’s father outside the family’s home before allowing Mr. Menz to return inside. Mr. Menz would lock the front door of the home while police watched from a window while conducting a wellness check. A hours long standoff would ensure.
A Coroner report would later determine Mr. Menz shot his wife in the head before killing himself.
“I want law enforcement to be better educated, better trained, and have better protocol to prevent something like this.” Alexis Menz said Sunday night.
The couples daughter later spoke of her new calling to fight the stereotypes of domestic abuse.
“My goal and my mission, I told my mom when she was laying in her casket, I’m a soldier now. I don’t mean that to sound cheesy, I mean that because every day I wake up and I’m thinking about this fight, I’m thinking about all the arguments I’m going to have to have with people that don’t understand that cycle of domestic violence and don’t understand why victims go back,” Alexis explained.
“They want to blame the victim cause they’re so stupid for staying. I told my mom that multiple times. One of the last conversations I had with her was an argument, and I have to live with that now too. The cycle of violence is so well known. We know that victims go back, we know why victims go back. There’s so many layers. There’s financial layers, there’s emotional abuse layers, dependency layers, there’s so many different reasons why people feel like they can’t get away. And they try. And my mom tried, many times. She came so close many times. There were so many things just fighting to hold her back. I don’t want another child to bury both their parents like I had to this week.”
“There are so many moments I’ll never get to share with my parents. I won’t ever get to excite them and surprise them and tell them that they’re going to be grandparents. My parents won’t ever get to just see me in my wedding dress at my reception that was suppose to be in September. That’s not going to happen. I wanted to send them pictures and postcards from Japan where my Husband and I are supposed to be going. I won’t get to do that and there are so many other kids out there that are living that life of fear. Hiding in their closets with a weapon like I did that will follow in my footsteps. If we can do anything to raise awareness, to teach them that they can still go out and live a life that’s not the same cycle of abuse that they grew up in, then we will have at least saved one person. That’s what I want to come of all this. I want to have eventually changed societies approach to domestic violence as a whole. I want communities to be more knowledgeable and educated on it. I guess what I want everyone here to leave with today is, it could’ve been us, it could’ve been any of our loved ones, but it’s not. You all still have loved ones that you can go home to, call on the phone, please call them. Please give them a hug. Talk to them. I’d you know someone who’s living something like this, if you know someone that you care about and even if they’re not living something like this, talk to them. Love on them. Teach them. Protect them. And as we close off today with a moment of silence, for my mom, and even my dad too because he was ill. I lost both.“