Domestic violence ongoing issueThese witnesses are silent. The life-size wooden figures stand outside the Douglas County Courthouse and near Wentworth Gardens. Each honors the women, men and children who were murdered in acts of domestic violence, according to Debbie Jonasen, an advocate for the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (CASDA) in Superior.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
These witnesses are silent.
The life-size wooden figures stand outside the Douglas County Courthouse and near Wentworth Gardens. Each honors the women, men and children who were murdered in acts of domestic violence, according to Debbie Jonasen, an advocate for the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (CASDA) in Superior.
Jonasen hopes to move the figures to different areas in the county and city during the month, a reminder to passersby that domestic violence victims lived and worked, they had neighbors, friends and family before their death.
Domestic violence claimed 58 lives in Wisconsin last year, according to the Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report 2010. That averages out to four domestic violence homicide deaths per month in the state. Firearms were used in 61 percent of all incidents of domestic violence homicides, and 53 percent of the homicides involved a victim or someone close to the victim who had left or was taking action to leave the relationship.
Domestic violence is an ongoing issue. In the first three days of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, at least four arrests were made in Douglas County in conjunction with domestic violence incidents, according to information provided by District Attorney Dan Blank. In addition, he said, a number of non-arrest reports were filed.
In rural Douglas County, a married couple’s fight over a remote control — she wanted to listen to music, he wanted to watch TV — led to the man allegedly backhanding his wife, according to Blank. The man was arrested and spent the weekend in jail. He was charged with battery.
A man who admitted to Superior police he had been smoking marijuana allegedly hit his wife, grabbed her hair, threw her to the floor and kicked her. He denied the allegations, saying his wife threw food at him but he did not retaliate. The man was arrested and spent the rest of the weekend in jail. According to the District Attorney, he faces a battery charge.
Superior Police were called to a residence three different times to separate a wife and her husband, who had been drinking. The man originally agreed with responding officers that he would leave the home for the night, but returned twice, taking his wife’s phone away when she tried to call for help, according to information provided by Blank. He is facing charges of disorderly conduct, intimidation of a victim and bail jumping.
And a dispute between a mother and son in Superior led to an arrest. The mother alleged that the son came home late from work, drunk, and accused her of hiding his wallet. She said he threatened her, then broke dishes, a crock pot and her bedroom door. The District Attorney’s Office charged the son with criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct, according to Blank.
There are a number of events going on in Douglas County to highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Along with the silent witness displays, colorful T-shirts decorated by area survivors of domestic violence decorate the atrium of the Government Center. Each shirt serves as an expression of emotion from the victim and a testimony to the problem of violence against men, women and children, according to CASDA.
The Mending Broken Branches art show opened Tuesday and runs through Oct. 29 at the North End Arts Gallery in the Trade and Commerce Marketplace, 916 Hammond Ave. The art show was created by survivors of domestic and sexual assault to reveal their stories and journeys of survival, according to Susan Meyers, founding executive director for North Central Windows Program, Art Enrichment, which is putting on the show. An opening night reception takes place at 7 p.m. Friday. It will include a fundraiser and silent auction to benefit NCWP and donation boxes for free will donations to CASDA.
In addition, a donation drive will be held for CASDA from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 13-15 outside East End Super Ones. Needed items such as paper towels, trash bags, dish soap, dryer sheets, detergent, Tylenol, cold medicine, non-perishable food items and gift certificates can be dropped off at the grocery store or the CASDA office in the third floor of Hawkes Hall, 2231 Catlin Ave. All donations will benefit survivors of abuse residing at CASDA’s emergency shelter.
CASDA staff will have Domestic Violence Awareness Month information tables set up at a number of sites during the month. They will at Wal-Mart in Superior from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17-18 and 12:30-4 p.m. Oct. 19. An information table will be set up at Superior High School from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 14. A similar table will be set up at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-Superior from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and 27.
For more information, contact CASDA at (715) 392-3136 or (800) 649-2921.