On Thursday, Oct. 2, Christie and Curt Brungardt spoke to dozens of students about their lives after their daughter was murdered.
Their daughter, Jana Mackey, was a law student at the University of Kansas. She was well-known throughout Kansas for speaking out against domestic violence and volunteering to help its victims.
In early July of 2008, Mackey was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Lawrence, Kan., in an act of domestic violence.
Her friends and family referred to her as “the most unlikely of domestic violence victims.”
Since 2009, her parents have been traveling the country, speaking to campuses about how to stop domestic violence so no one has to go through what they went through in the form of Jana’s Campaign.
“No, [we did not feel this strongly about domestic violence] but I wish that I would have,” Christie said. “It really was not on my radar screen. I was passionate about a number of social issues, but this one was those other people’s problem. It never meant us, we didn’t think.”
Together, they aspire to raise public awareness and community action.
“We feel like our mission today is to help everyone understand that it means them before their daughter dies,” Christie said. “It shouldn’t have to take your daughter dying to finally figure out that it is everybody’s issue.”
Curt likes to take on the initiative of engaging men and boys by helping them redefine masculinity. He also tries to help them reach out in cases of themselves being victims.
“Trust in your friends and the people on this campus,” Curt said. “There are people trained to work and help. It’s not necessarily about prosecution or accountability. It’s about getting the help you need. There are people in the community that are professionals at this.”
They are adamant about victims getting help and not refusing to report it.
“Find someone to talk to,” Christie said. “Saying something is the most important thing. There are people on this campus that know what that student should be doing. Who that student should be going to, he or she. Yet, when it is not talked about, then victims think they’re just all alone. So they don’t even know who to go talk to… They have to talk to someone; that is my best advice. This is too traumatic to try to handle by themselves.”