Minnesota battered women's advocate killed in Cuba car crash

A longtime Minnesota advocate for battered women was killed in a car crash while in Cuba this week.

Sharon Rice Vaughan, 73, lived in St. Paul. Details about the crash remain unclear, as well as the reason for her visit, the Star Tribune reported.

As a VISTA volunteer in 1972, Vaughan and friends began to invite battered women into their homes. They created Women's Advocates in 1974, an organization that still provides shelter, support and other resources for women and children. They originally operated out of the founding volunteers' homes, then bought a house on 584 Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Now, the Women's Advocates facility helps about 1,000 women and children a year with a variety of legal, education and health services and also operates a 24-hour crisis line.

Vaughan was also part of a Minnesota Public Radio documentary about battered women called "Breaking the Silence," for which she received the 1988 Women in Communications national Clarion Award for best radio documentary series.

A message on the Women's Advocates Facebook page reads:

"It is with deepest regret that we inform you of the loss of one of our founders, Ms. Sharon Rice Vaughan. We send our heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends. She was a true inspiration and will be greatly missed."

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