Watch CBS News

Victim's Family Raises Domestic Violence Awareness, Supports Women's Shelters

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Nearly three years ago, a young woman was killed and her ex-boyfriend was arrested.

Since then, Karissa Kunco's family has vowed to spread the word about domestic violence awareness. And hundreds gathered Saturday to raise money for local women's shelters.

Inside the Royal Place in the South Hills, purple was the color that ruled Saturday night. It was all in memory of a beautiful young woman.

Karissa was 21-years-old when her life was taken in an act of domestic violence in January of 2012.

"It's been a while, but it feels like it happened five minutes ago," said Paul Kunco, Karissa's father.

Paul says in the wake of his daughter's horrific fate, the family was left with options on how to go on.

"We had two choices," he said. "One, to crawl in a hole, not fight back, and let her become another name, another forgotten statistic. We chose to fight."

The motto of the evening, "Remember My Name; Be My Voice," are the marching orders for Karissa's army. The fundraiser is for women's shelters, to help get the word out to other potential victims that there is a place to go and be safe.

"That's what we really want to do, save a life, and make people more aware of domestic violence instead of being brushed under the rug," said Donna DePippa, Karissa's aunt. "It happens to everybody - rich, poor, working class. I think Karissa is helping a lot of young girls."

Auctions and raffles, food and drink. People who love each other are the ingredients of the event. But bringing it all together is the spirit of a young girl who was lost too soon, and still loved so much.

"We're gonna finish the night Karissa style. We're gonna laugh, tell stories. We're gonna do exactly what she want us to," said Paul. "She's here, she's right here with us. She's got the biggest smile on her face right now."

For more information on how you can help Karissa's Army, click here to visit their Facebook page.

You May Also Be Interested In These Latest News Stories

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.