WBUR 5/14/13: Parents Of Slain Wayland Teen Call For Violence Prevention. The parents of a Wayland teen killed by a former boyfriend are urging lawmakers to require dating violence prevention as part of health and sexual education programs in public schools. Malcolm Astley, a retired principal, and Mary Dunne, a pre-kindergarten teacher, became emotional at times as they testified before the Legislature’s Education Committee. Dunne told the panel that while schools are focusing on academic performance and standardized tests, they have lost sight of teaching children about healthy relationships, empathy and caring. Astley told WBUR that education in high school about dealing with relationships is vital to ending domestic violence.
Boston Globe 5/14/13: Parents of slain Wayland teenager urge lawmakers to enact teen relationship and violence education in schools. The mother of Wayland murder victim Lauren Dunne Astley today called on legislators to mandate comprehensive dating violence education in Massachusetts schools, saying that if her daughter had only received the “pearl of wisdom” never to go alone to visit an ex-boyfriend, she might still be alive. ”If only she had learned and internalized that singularly important lesson,” said Mary Dunne, who spoke with her former husband and Astley’s father, Malcolm Astley, to the Joint Committee on Education in the State House today. Behind them, their daughter beamed in a blown up version of her senior portrait. “That small pearl of wisdom should be ingrained in our children as deeply as buckling their seat belts and recycling their bottles and cans.”
Boston Globe 3/17/13: Lauren Astley’s legacy is friendship. To them, she was the fearless, sassy friend who would put just $5 worth of gas in her car so she’d have plenty of cash for a new pair of shoes or her favorite Starbucks drink. No one will forget how Lauren Astley was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend just weeks after they graduated from Wayland High School. But her four closest friends want her remembered for far more: She was smart, funny, a talented singer, a loyal friend.
WBUR 3/19/13: Mother Of Slain Wayland Teen Explains ‘Cardinal Rule’ Of Healthy Breakups. Lauren Astley’s father has said that two lives were lost when his 18-year-old daughter was killed — not just Astley’s, but also the life of her former boyfriend, Nathaniel Fujita. Fujita, 20, was sentenced this month to life in prison. He murdered Astley in their hometown of Wayland almost two years ago when she met up with him after their breakup. Now Astley’s parents hope some good will be done in their daughter’s name. They’ve created the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, which sponsors programs to help prevent teen dating violence and promote healthy teenage relationships. It also supports the arts and community service, which were a big part of Astley’s life. WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with Astley’s mother, Mary Dunne, about what lessons she hopes other teenagers will learn from her daughter’s death.
Christian Science Monitor 3/13/13: Steubenville rape trial: Where were ‘courageous bystanders’? (+video). The trial that started Wednesday in Steubenville, Ohio, has brought to light the disturbing regularity of dating and sexual violence among teenagers and how peers often stand idly by – or, in some cases, even post videos to Facebook. In Ohio, a judge will decide if two teenage boys raped a 16-year-old girl after a party. The case garnered international attention when accusations arose about the boys being protected as members of a popular football team. Social media postings suggested that students knew of, and joked about, the alleged attack. That scenario resonates far beyond Steubenville. Teen-dating abuse – physical, sexual, or psychological – affects 9 percent to 34 percent of adolescents in the United States, according to a recent article published online by the journal Pediatrics.
NECN 3/12/13: Lauren Astley’s parents helping to prevent dating violence. An attorney for Nathaniel Fujita is planning an appeal for his murder conviction. A jury rejected the teen’s insanity defense, convicting him in the death of his ex-girlfriend Lauren Astley. Astley’s parents have vowed to take action to prevent dating violence and promote healthy relationships. Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne established the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, a non-profit charitable organization founded to honor the life of Lauren. Part of their mission is to promote educational programs that would help teach healthy emotions and relationships.
Boston Globe 3/9/13: Lauren Astley’s parents hope to curb teen dating violence after first degree murder conviction. Looking back there were signs, but they were deceptively subtle. Her friends didn’t like him, he rarely came to her house, he couldn’t seem to let her go. One day after seeing Nathaniel Fujita convicted of murdering his former girlfriend — her only daughter, Lauren Astley — Mary Dunne reflected on the ways parents can prevent tragedies like the one she is enduring. She wants other parents to benefit from what she has learned so painfully about teen dating violence.
March 7, 2013: Nate Fujita was found guilty of first degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the July 2011 killing of Lauren Astley.
Statement from Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne about preventing future violence against women:
Statement of Mary Dunne and Malcolm Astley Regarding the Trial Concerning Lauren Astley’s Death
We want to express our gratitude to the district attorney’s office, the courts, and the jurors for their diligent pursuit of justice. We experience immense grief and outrage at the absence of Lauren’s sparkle, at her pain and murder. We are appalled at the similar murders of so many other women within supposedly loving relationships, three murders per day in our country. Through the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, we resolve to turn that pain and outrage into caring and sound prevention. We will seek to promote appropriate instruction in healthy relationships at all grade levels in Massachusetts. Thank you for your concern for and coverage of these matters.
Impact Statements from Lauren’s parents are available online here:
Wayland Patch 11/21/12: New Book Celebrates Parent-Child Relationship, Raises Money for Lauren Dunne Astley Fund.Three Flower Farm Press is pleased to announce the release of "Mr. Astley’s Blueberries" by local author Kelly Jenkins Lin. A picture book for children ages 4-8 years old, "Mr. Astley’s Blueberries" features Wayland resident Malcolm Astley, proprietor of Lightning Bug Blues, a local blueberry business established by Astley and his daughter, Lauren Dunne Astley. All royalties from the sale of the book, which is available online and at local retailers, will be donated to the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund.
Wayland Patch 7/4/12: One Year Later: Wayland Remembers Lauren Dunne Astley. “Sparkle” has in the past year embedded itself in the vernacular of the small town of Wayland, Mass. The joyful connotation of the word – “sparkle” – belies the tragic occasion for its rise to the consciousness of people connected through tragedy and, on Tuesday night, through remembrance.
Wayland Town Crier 7/4/12: Lauren Astley vigil in Wayland full of tears, laughter. It’s been a year since the murder of Lauren Astley. But death “is not annihilation,” said Ken Sawyer, senior minister of First Parish in Wayland. “It is not an end to love.” For the 100 or so people who gathered at the church last night to mark that anniversary, memories of the Wayland High grad still brought tears and laughter.
The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund’s mission is to promote dynamic educational programs, particularly those in the areas of the development of healthy teen relationships, the arts, and community service.
Mary Dunne and Malcolm Astley were interviewed on March 14 by Katie Couric who has been putting the spotlight on the problem of intimate partner violence for years. The interview focused on prevention and aired on March 25, 2013. Click here for the segment.