MASON CITY | Sixteen years ago, Jordan Manning and his brother found their mother on her bedroom floor in Fort Dodge.

Joni Manning, 42, had her hands tied and was beaten to death by Mark Wilson, 42, a man she had been dating for eight months. Now, Jordan — who moved to Mason City in 2005 — wants people to know that domestic violence is a serious issue.

"It's very important," said Jordan, 31. "For a lot of people, I’m sure it’s not in the front of their mind that this stuff happens ... it’s good that they have events like this that helps bring it to the forefront."

The event Jordan was talking about is "Remember My Name," an annual gathering of local law enforcement, along with friends and family of domestic violence victims. 

Since 1995, 295 people have been killed in domestic violence and abuse incidents statewide. In the Mason City Room at the Mason City Library Friday afternoon, Sheriff Kevin Pals told those gathered how many people have been killed each year since, highlighting notable local cases during that time span.

As specific stories were told, family and friends who knew the victims would come forward and tie a ribbon with the victim's name to a tree at the front of the room.

Pals told the Globe Gazette that domestic violence is preventable, and urged more people to speak out, whether it be to police or crisis intervention groups.

He added that since only 30 percent of all cases are reported statewide, it's important people speak out, no matter who is involved.

"Let's just say it's a highly visible elected official, and they're the victim or they're the abuser," he said of one possible example. "And their spouse doesn't want people to know, it's embarrassing, people could lose their jobs ... which we all think in society is really important, but really when you get down to it, means nothing if you're not treating each other with respect or dignity."

One of the groups in town that helps handle domestic violence issues is Crisis Intervention Service. Mary Ingham, its executive director, urged those affected to speak out, as all their services are confidential.

Ingham noted that while the 295 people killed since 1995 is a considerable amount, many more relatives, friends and community members are also impacted. Like Pals, she said it's important to report any issues, because domestic violence related homicides are completely preventable.

"It's not something that just happens out of the blue," she said. "Often times, there's a pattern that people can see."

Pals said one of the major issues is that many victims have been abused in other relationships, because they attract abusive behavior.

"We all need to work together to let not just women, but let men know that it's not right to control people," he said. "It's not right to 'keep the money and not give access to other people in the relationship.' Especially if they're married, they're supposed to become one."

Mark Wilson, who beat Joni Manning to death in July 2001, eventually surrendered to police in California on Aug. 11, 2009, and was convicted of first-degree murder in March of the following year.

Jordan, who was 14 at the time of his mom's death, hopes events like "Remember My Name" lead to less stories like his.

"If you see stuff that don't look right, say something," he said. "A lot of people cover up stuff and try to hide it ... let somebody know and seek help, because when things go bad, they can always go worse."

Contact Steve at 641-421-0527 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.


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