Family determined to keep domestic violence from being silent issue by sharing their story

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GARDNER, Kan. --  In fewer than a thousand words, a few pictures tell the story of a happily ever after: love, marriage, children. Much like the pictures in a scrapbook: a life, reading like a fairytale, but in the moments not pictured, life was very different.

"The last thing that us three heard our mom say, is she screamed ‘kids’ at the top of her lungs, then he put the tape over her mouth," Josh Rhodes said.

Sarah, Josh, and Gaby Rhodes say their youngest years were marked by violence. Their father repeatedly abused their mother, Patty Lynn Kruse.

“Usually when we would cry, he would stop,” said Josh.

Patty was the light of her kids' lives.

"She was just really outgoing and always just made us laugh and very well-liked and respected," said Josh.

But on April 19th, 2004, her husband, their father, took that light from them.

"He cut the phone lines, and then he came in,” said Josh. "He raped her, then he tied her up."

Sarah, Josh, and Gaby heard everything. Days later, their mother's body was found in a pond with cinder blocks tied to her ankles.

“I miss my mom every day,” Gaby said.

In the 11 years since Patty's murder, her children have shared their story with friends or people they met along the way.

“It`s really helped me honestly heal because it makes me feel not alone, and all this time I felt alone," said Gaby.

But recently they made the decision to share their message with the world with the help of Paused. Photography.

“Domestic violence is a big issue, but it`s a silent issue,” said Sarah.

The decision was scary, but already, the siblings are finding out their message is giving people an outlet to share their experiences with domestic abuse.

“It does happen to people, you`re not the only one,” Sarah said.

Giving the victims of this silent crime a voice, including the victim who now has three voices speaking for her.

“I think watching over us, she is very proud, and I think all she wants for us is to be happy and to move on, but I think she`s proud that we`re still telling her story,” said Gaby.

To go to their Facebook page, click on this link.

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