Often times I will describe a situation to a person and the first words out of their mouth are, “Oh, I know exactly what you are talking about,” or “I completely understand.” The truth of the matter is, that individual has no idea what I’m talking about because it is a situation they have never experienced, they have no idea what I or another person are feeling because they have never walked that “mile,” and they certainly don’t understand.


    Often times I will describe a situation to a person and the first words out of their mouth are, “Oh, I know exactly what you are talking about,” or “I completely understand.” The truth of the matter is, that individual has no idea what I’m talking about because it is a situation they have never experienced, they have no idea what I or another person are feeling because they have never walked that “mile,” and they certainly don’t understand. That said, I must add, that most of the time when I hear those words, or even speak them myself, the intentions behind them are always good.”
    Anna Gronewold of Lewisville, Minnesota understands domestic abuse and the trail of destruction it means for a family. Gronewold’s 25 year old daughter Ashley and her husband Chester were both victims of domestic abuse. Ashley’s ex-boyfriend broke into the Gronewold home on an early winter morning in  January 2010 and violently killed Ashley and Chester before taking his own life.
    “Shawn Haugen,?Ashley’s ex-boyfriend, was not always violent,” says Anna Gronewold. “He changed after the birth of their son,?Audrick in?May 2008. He became controlling, jealous, verbally and physically abusive towards Ashley. She tried to hide it from us and began covering for things Shawn would do to her saying that he did not mean to do it or say the things that he did. In May of 2009,?Ashley had enough of the name calling, hitting and feeling trapped, she had Shawn removed from her home. It only lasted a short time. You see Shawn was very manipulative.?He knew what to say and when to say it.?Shawn moved back at the end of June[2009]. However, we knew something was wrong.”
    Anna Gronewold recently spoke to 50-75 individuals of all backgrounds and professions at the CADA Inspiring Hope Breakfast held April 23, 2010 in Mankato, Minnesota. She  recently testified during legislative hearings this year that resulted in the passage of the Domestic Violence(DV) Omnibus Bill, a bill that enhances the criminal justic systems ability to protect victims of domestic abuse.
    Anna Gronewold understands domestic abuse. “Prior to domestic abuse, our lives were very simple,” Anna told her audience in Mankato. “We lived on a third generation family farm in Lewisville and enjoyed life. We kept to ourselves. Chet and I had a large blended family.?Chet was the sole guardian of his grandson Dilin age 14. Chet always enjoyed taking care of and playing with the grandkids. Ashley was one of a kind.?She had a gift for motherhood. Her children Jaymes age 6 and Audrick 23 months were her life. She had an everlasting smile and a contagious laugh.” At the visitation and funeral for Ashley and her step-father, a school teacher shared that  Ashley’s last words to her were, “Everything in life happens for a purpose.” “This was a statement that Chet and I have instilled in our children, she was at that point in her life when she got the message,” said Anna Gronewold.
    Anna goes on to tell the audience gathered for the ‘Hope’ Breakfast: “Within minutes, one violent person changed the fate of my entire family. A person who the criminal justice system knew was dangerous and out of control but the criminal justice system couldn’t do anything about it. They couldn’t protect my family from Shawn’s violence. Now my family is left to deal with the aftermath of his terror.”
    Of that fatal morning Anna gives the following description: “January17, 2010, just three weeks after Shawn supposedly burned down Ashley’s house in Lewisville and 3 days after Shawn was released from jail in?Watonwan County,?Shawn broke into our farm house in rural Lewisville.?He then shot and killed my daughter, beat my husband to death, and then cowardly took his own life.”  Read more in the May 20 Plaindealer.