Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Remembering those who died of domestic violence homicide in Minnesota January 30, 2017

Barb Larson. (Photo source: Boldt Funeral Home.)

Barb Larson. (Photo source: Boldt Funeral Home.)

TO THOSE WHO KNEW Barb Larson, she was classy, sassy, upbeat and kind, always smiling.

Tomorrow she will be among those remembered at the Domestic Violence Homicide Memorial at the St. Paul College Club in St. Paul. Barb was murdered on December 23, 2016, by her ex-husband at The Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism office where she worked. Richard Larson then turned the gun on himself.

Statistics on a The Clothesline Project t-shirt from the Minnesota Coaltition for Battered Women..

Statistics on a The Clothesline Project t-shirt from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015.

Barb’s name, and that of Minnesota’s 20 other 2016 victims of domestic violence homicide, will be read during the 4 p.m. memorial program. The January 31 memorial also includes The Clothesline Project, a display of personalized t-shirts honoring victims. That visual makes a strong impact. I know. I viewed a previous The Clothesline Project at a July 2015 event in Owatonna.

A graphic from the MCBW Facebook page promoting release of the 2016 Femicide Report.

A photo of the graphic published on the MCBW Facebook page promoting release of the 2016 Femicide Report.

Prior to the Tuesday afternoon memorial, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women releases its 2016 Femicide Report, a compilation of information on intimate partner homicides in Minnesota. Erica Staab, executive director of HOPE Center in Faribault, is serving as the MCBW member program rep during that morning release to the media. She will also attend the afternoon memorial along with Rice County Blueprint for Safety Coordinator Sandra Seelhammer and, I expect, others from the Faribault community. Family and friends of all 21 victims were specifically invited to the public event.

Margie Brown Holland and her unborn daughter, Olivia, were honored at The Clothesline Project display this summer in Owatonna. The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women coordinates the project to honor victims of domestic violence. Redeemer Lutheran Church brought the project to Owatonna this past summer.

Margie Brown Holland and her unborn daughter, Olivia, were honored at The Clothesline Project display in July 2015. Redeemer Lutheran Church brought the project to Owatonna. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015.

I wish events like this were not needed, that domestic violence did not exist. But it does. And it affects all of us, directly or indirectly. My community understands that all too well with the death of Barb Larson in December and the murder of Faribault native Margie Brown Holland and her unborn baby, Olivia, in March 2013.

Clothesline Project, in her honor

Words on a t-shirt at a The Clothesline Project display in Owatonna in July 2015. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015.

We all need to care—enough to educate ourselves so that we understand domestic violence. We need to stop blaming victims. We need to support victims/survivors and those who love them. We need a system that holds offenders accountable. We need to take a stand against domestic violence. We need to speak up, to end the silence.

A comment on the MCBW Facebook page from the daughter of a

A photo of a comment on the MCBW Facebook page honors Barbara Ann Wilson, murdered in April 2016 in Mankato.

FYI: The Tuesday, January 31, Domestic Violence Homicide Memorial runs from 3:30 – 5 p.m. at the St. Paul College Club, 990 Summit Avenue, St. Paul.

Please check back for information on the 2016 Femicide Report, which I will review upon its release.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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8 Responses to “Remembering those who died of domestic violence homicide in Minnesota”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    I am so proud of you for continuing to address domestic violence. You are correct – education is key. Having grown up with family abuse, I understand the difficulty of taking a stand. I am always surprised at how little people realize how trapped and powerless the victim (and their family) feel in these situations. Offering support is such a kindness, but it can also help to save a life.

    • Thank you, Lori. I will continue to use my voice to educate.

      And you are correct: Offering support is a kindness and could help save a life.

      I’m proud of you for being a survivor. Look at how strong and kind you are.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    You continue to educate and share this horrible issue that plagues so many. Thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of those who don’t have a voice or who feel they can’t use that voice.

    • You are welcome.

      I just read an article in the Faribault Daily News about a local man who was arrested for violating no contact and domestic abuse protection orders. Part of that alleged violation includes calling the victim 133 times in five hours.

      • Beth Ann Says:

        That is horrible.

      • I am thankful he was arrested. Responding officers also found tire tracks in the snow behind the victim’s barn and near her home. In my opinion, she is in clear and eminent danger. Hopefully he will remain jailed. Orders of protection are only that, “orders,” pieces of paper that hold minimal protection unless enforced when violated. And sometimes that enforcement comes too late.

  3. –Because of people like you, Audrey, Domestic Violence has a VOICE & a FACE.
    We need to keep fighting, standing up, RISING, telling our stories, & be Pro-Active.
    As for me, I shall never stop telling Kay’s story.
    She is ME.
    I am Her.

    xxx from Duluth.


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