In Remembrance: Alexis Olivia Harris


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It has been six years now since the senseless act of domestic violence that took my friend. I don’t go back to that day often, but it is there. I can still hear the cries and screaming coming through the phone on that warm July afternoon. Panic and confusion are the last emotions I remember before being thrown into the whirlpool of events that followed. I can picture myself texting and calling as fast as I could, over and over again, still convinced this was all a big misunderstanding.

At just 20 years old, my friend Alexis Olivia Harris was beaten to death by her boyfriend. After that day, my life became consumed by anger. Anger that would build every court date as I sat two rows back from that monster — two rows back from the hands and feet used to stomp and kick my friend to her death.

Six years later I still cringe at the sight of any violence on TV, the images of what my friend must have gone through flashing through my head. I find myself constantly observing couples in public, because as I know now, things are not always as they appear to be.

Six years later, the question still remains: how could this possibly have happened to my beautiful friend? Alexis was the first person to stick up for me in a room full of strangers. She worked hard at her job so she could treat herself to the newest sneakers and best-looking nails. Six years later, I still have nightmares about sitting outside of that little blue house, crying alone in my car until the sun came back up. Six years later, I now look at my friend’s mother as we enjoy coffee at her kitchen table, both of us not acknowledging that the bedroom around the corner is empty.

They say with time all things heal. Time for me has shifted my emotions — not healed them. The focus for me now is: what can be learned from this? I have learned that while time will move on, Alexis’ story can remain. If hearing her story can help one person, in a room full of people, to know they have the power to change their outcome — it is enough. Even in the darkest of nights, a candle’s light can be seen. That candle for me has been all the advocates who continue to keep the conversation about domestic violence in the forefront. Thank you to all of those who choose to break the silence on domestic violence. And thank you to all of those who continue to keep my friend, Alexis Olivia Harris, in their hearts.

Christine Pagliaro

Originally published in Safe Homes of Orange County first quarter newsletter, 2018.



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