The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Faces of Domestic Violence

October 13, 2012

Brittany Stout: 'My life will never be the same'

ELWOOD, Ind. — It’s been more than a year since Brittany Stout escaped her abusive partner. But the 19-year-old woman still struggles with the past.

“A lot has changed,” Brittany said. “My life will never be the same.”

She and Aaron McPhearson had been together off and on for three years when he first physically abused her. Now looking back, Brittany said he had been abusive in other ways throughout their relationship.

“It was always good right at the beginning but soon he’d fall back into his old ways,” Brittany said. “He was controlling; we always did what he wanted; I had no say. He told me I was fat and ugly. He was an angry person.”

He would break things in anger and place the blame on her, she said.

Brittany was 17 when she gave birth to the couple’s son, Aiden. Three months later, McPhearson attacked Brittany. He turned angry when she refused to have sex with him, Brittany said. He ripped her clothes off and refused to let her get up from the bed, she recalled, and she was hit several times.

McPhearson was arrested, but the two got back together. About a month later, when Aiden was 4 months old, McPherson asked Brittany if he could watch the baby overnight. She agreed. Around 4 a.m. that morning, McPherson told her that she needed to get Aiden.

When Brittany picked him up, the child’s face was swollen and bruised. McPhearson asked her to tell authorities that she had dropped Aiden. McPherson told her not to take the baby to the hospital, Brittany said. She didn’t comply, and Aiden was flown by medical helicopter to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

McPhearson was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to Class B felonies of aggravated battery, battery resulting in serious bodily injury and neglect of a dependent. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison — where he currently remains — with six of those years suspended.

“Now that I see everything he did, I realize it wasn’t normal,” Brittany said.

Aiden had bleeding in his brain, two broken wrists, a broken arm, hand, leg and knee, but there have been no lasting physical effects.

Brittany, however, remains emotionally affected.

“I have learned that you can’t trust everyone; you can’t believe what people say,” Brittany said. “Also, there are bad people in the world, and even if you think it can’t happen to you it can.”

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Faces of Domestic Violence
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    The elimination of abuse in relationships — with time, cooperation and commitment — is possible, said Colleen Yeakle, coordinator of the Indiana Coalition of Domestic Violence’s (ICADV) prevention initiative.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Legislation comes a long way, but more change needed

    Each year the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence sets its legislative priorities based on year-round discussions with its members and legislators to see what needs are out there and what is going on in the field.

    October 27, 2012

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    While some may think the atmosphere at Alternatives, the Anderson domestic violence shelter, would be a somber one, instead it is a building filled with laughter and joy.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

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    Six-day-old Gabrielle Gissendanner and her 18-month-old brother Michael weren’t far from their mom when Harry Gissendanner shot and killed Kristy in their Anderson home in 2004.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • John Davis: ‘Defined by your actions and inactions’

    John Davis wants his pain to make a difference. He’s hopeful sharing what he experienced and witnessed growing up will empower someone else to leave a dangerous situation or avoid it altogether.

    October 27, 2012

  • ‘It was life-altering’

    Casey Huffman should have taken her son Camdon to his first day of kindergarten this year. She should be picking out a Halloween costume for him. She should be thinking about how to help him achieve his hopes and dreams. Instead, Casey mourns over his all-too-early death.

    October 27, 2012

  • Tomlinson, Tina.tif Tina Tomlinson: 'She was a hoot'

    Tina Tomlinson was just “plain fun,” her family recalled. The mother of two and dedicated grandmother was someone family could look to for a good time.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1024 news Domestic violence forum 108a.jpg Domestic violence prevention is possible, expert says

    Gender stereotypes are just one thing that Todd Cawthorn and five other speakers, during a 90-minute panel discussion Tuesday night, talked about that create an environment where domestic violence is accepted.

    October 23, 2012 3 Photos

  • 1023 news Dating violence talk 33a.jpg Teens can be victims of domestic violence, too

    Dating violence has been seen locally in relationships as young as sixth grade, Alternatives Inc. prevention specialist Todd Cawthorn said.

    October 22, 2012 2 Photos

  • 1021 news pendleton town court 020.jpg Justice for victims

    While a protective order is an important piece of the legal puzzle that domestic violence victims have to solve, Judge Stephen Clase stresses to each that it is, after all, “just a piece of paper.” “They won’t stop a knife or a bullet,” he said. “I tell them they need to be on guard at all times.”

    October 20, 2012 1 Photo

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  • Where to find help

    Alternatives Inc., 24-hour crisis line
    (765) 643-0200 or (866) 593-9999
    Kandi Floyd, Christy Clark, Dara Tracy -- victim’s advocates
    Victims Assistance Program, Madison County Sheriff’s Department
    (765) 646-4078 or (765) 646-4079
    Gay Doss, Jaime Wilhoite -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Program, Madison County Prosecutor‘s Office
    (765) 641-9673
    Melinda Padgett, Karla Montgomery, Alison Lutz, Gracie Roman, Laura Evans -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Unit, Anderson Police Department
    (765) 648-6773, Lessa Johnson, Christy Jones -- victim assistance specialists
    Sowers of Seeds Counseling, Batters’ Intervention Program
    (765) 649-3452
    Vaughn Walker -- supervisor

    Anonymous The Herald Bulletin Fri, October 12
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