Classmates of Alexis Stubbs will wear t-shirts bearing her image when they come together to say their good-byes.

The 12-year-old was brutally stabbed to death in a domestic violence related homicide last week by a man she called her “Daddy.”

John Singleton, a 31-year-old convicted felon with a history of domestic violence, has been charged with the girl’s murder.

Singleton had just gotten out of prison in April on an aggravated domestic battery for choking Alexis’ mother.

He moved back with the family in June, and allegedly stabbed Alexis to death after the mother asked him to move out.

OPINION

Needless to say, Alexis’ mother is devastated by this loss. A community is grieving as well.

For the most part, domestic violence victims suffer in silence. In fact, when an intimate partner kills a woman, some of us act as if it is the woman’s fault.

But domestic violence victims are the most vulnerable when they have made up their minds to leave the relationship.

Kathleen A. Doherty, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, points out that Alexis’ mother did what she needed to do to protect her daughter.

“She got help and her child was with her. I used to work for Chicago House. That is not an isolated environment. I am sure there were other adults and kids running around through that building,” she said

“That mom had no idea that was going to happen.

“[Singleton] found an opportunity and took it. He chose, in that case, to take the life of her daughter as a way of trying to stay in control of that particular situation,” Doherty said.

We saw similar behavior earlier this year when a St. Charles man killed his twin daughters and then shot his wife, telling her “I want you to live and suffer like I did.”

Randall Coffland then fatally shot himself.

In most domestic violence cases, children are not physically harmed, but they are nonetheless traumatized.

I still remember waking up in the middle of the night terrorized because my parents were “fighting.”

But unfortunately, ending this scourge hasn’t been much of a priority in Illinois.

“We are continuing to see women being killed and we have less services across the state to meet the needs,” “Doherty told me.

“We got a record 31,000 calls for our hotline in 2016. You know why? There has been no funding for domestic violence. Agencies have closed down. Staff have been laid off and services have been cut,” she said.

Doherty is hoping the Senate will pass a funding bill in the special session so that agencies can stay afloat.

“We would finally get money to the domestic violence service providers. Quite frankly, folks have barely hung on. By the end of the summer we anticipate that 50 percent of domestic violence agencies will close,” she said.

Doherty said residents are still reeling at the Chicago House and Social Service Agency, the 15-unit building where Stubbs was killed.

“We are going to go in and do some work with their staff, they are just traumatized. It is a horrific thing to have to experience. It is the abuser taking the opportunity to do one more thing to take power and control,” she said.

Last week, Alexis’ classmates raised $373 on GoFundMe in a couple of hours to buy the t-shirts for the memorial service.

They also intend to have a plaque made and plant a tree in the murdered girl’s memory.

The memorial t-shirt has become the chosen expression of mourning in the black community because it not only shows reverence for the deceased, but solidarity for grieving family and friends.

I hope the group chooses purple for the t-shirts, the color of domestic violence awareness because that would send a powerful message.

What happened to Alexis Stubbs was the worst kind of betrayal.

We need her friends to not only be seen, but to be heard.