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Campaigning against domestic abuse

The Buffalo City Mission kicked off its annual campaign against domestic abuse Friday with the help of a former Amherst woman whose horrifying story of abuse captured the nation's attention on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Susan Still shared her story with the powerful talk-show diva over two episodes in May. Since escaping her husband, who is now serving a 36-year prison sentence, Still has become a crusader in the war to end domestic violence.

She spoke Friday morning at the City Mission's Cornerstone Manor to kick off the "Courage to Call" campaign. The campaign's goal is to lower the number of women and children suffering from abuse and homelessness through public awareness.

Still was invited to speak along with Yvonne Minor-Ragan, principal of Westminster Charter School; and Chris Robbins, chief executive officer of Arxcel, a prescription benefit management company.

"Courage to Call has multiple meanings and provides services that motivate participants to not only fight against homelessness, but domestic abuse as well," said Lora Warkentin, director of Cornerstone Manor, in a statement. "Susan is a phenomenal woman. Her story inspired the country, and we're confident in her ability to inspire the people of Western New York."

Still's abuse case in 2004 made headlines not only because of the violence against her, often witnessed by the couple's three children, but because one of the beatings was captured on video -- taped by her then-13-year-old son.

The video is the only known one of its kind that captures an actual domestic abuse incident on tape and has been requested by agencies around the country for training purposes.

Still's ex-husband, Ulner Lee Still, received the longest known sentence given to an abuser in cases where the victim lived.


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