WINTER GARDEN, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Central Florida woman wants to change our state's domestic violence laws. She wants stronger protections for parents who are victims of their violent children. It's a 265-mile bicycle ride for a cause. The Winter Garden woman is trying to make something good happen out of the tragic murder of her sister.
Alice Flowers is training for the Ride4Rose. She and other advocates will pedal to Tallahassee soon to raise awareness about child to parent abuse and domestic violence. "There are many, many families who are actually going through this, child to parent abuse," she says.
Flowers thinks Florida's judicial system needs to take this problem more seriously. She adds, "I have first-hand knowledge. This is a very serious situation, because my sister was murdered at the hand of her son."
Rosemary Pate was murdered in her Ocoee home by her own son in 2013. Elder Pate, Jr. is serving a 30-year sentence. Mrs. Pate had a domestic violence injunction against her son, which expired several months before her murder. Alice is using her sister's bicycle during training. She misses her murdered sibling very much.
Flowers says, "Every minute of every day. It never goes away. She's always on my mind."
Flowers wants the state to start tracking child to parent abuse as a listed category of domestic abuse in Florida. It is not now. She wants more early intervention programs to prevent violence and more support programs for parents being abused. She adds, "I need lawmakers to really begin addressing child to parent abuse."
The Ride4Rose leaves out of Orlando on February 13, and participants plan to arrive at the state capitol on the 17. The public is invited to join along the ride.
State Senator Geraldine Thompson and State Representative Victor Torres are sponsoring bills this year to address this issue.