KOTA Cares- Shirley Speaks works to keep people safe

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 8:01 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, on average nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.

But Shirley Speaks is fighting to decrease that number.

Danielle Butler, better known as Dani Jo, has made it her life’s work, to honor her mother’s memory.

“I knew that out of my mom’s death, there could come hope and healing for people that my mom wasn’t able to find,” said Dani Jo on what led her to create the non-profit.

In 2021 Dani Jo lost her mother Shirley to a domestic violence incident. Through that tragedy, she found inspiration by creating The Shirley Speaks Foundation.

The foundation provides mental health services for men and women in violent situations to help survivors gain back the power they lost to their abuser.

“I think that the one thing that I noticed with my mom being in an abusive relationship for 40 years was that she lost her power to her abuser,” added Dani Jo, the founder of Shirley Speaks. “I think that we have great services out there now for victims of violence, but they don’t often cover the mental health and emotional services that need to be taken care of. And those can take years to regain, their power and their strength.”

Members of Shirley Speaks hope that by bringing awareness about domestic violence, more people will reach out for help.

“One of the biggest questions people ask is why did your mom stay for 40 years and that in itself is a victim-shaming comment. We don’t understand why but we know that it’s not necessarily her fault and so we have to bring awareness to these subjects,” said Dani Jo.

And while Dani Jo’s mother might be gone her voice carries on.