Domestic violence leaves victims vulnerableDomestic abuse can come in many forms and strike where people are most vulnerable. Alex, a domestic abuse survivor, lost contact with her daughter for eight months because of the actions of her husband. She shared her story Thursday during an event to highlight October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Domestic abuse can come in many forms and strike where people are most vulnerable. Alex, a domestic abuse survivor, lost contact with her daughter for eight months because of the actions of her husband. She shared her story Thursday during an event to highlight October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Cherish every moment you have with your child,” she said. Believe in yourself and believe there are people out there to help you.
At its worst, domestic violence can kill. It snuffed out the lives of 52 people in Wisconsin last year, according to a report by End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin — from a newborn baby to an 82-year-old woman.
In Douglas County, the District Attorney’s Office gets about 300 referrals for domestic abuse cases each year, nearly one a day. About 200 of those make it to the courtroom.
“They’re real, they’re among us, and we have to work together to intervene,” said Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank.
He encouraged people in the community to be aware and step in to help.
“Police cannot intervene in an incident unless someone calls attention to it,” Blank said.
He pointed out the difference between two responses to a recent domestic abuse episode. A woman went to break up with her boyfriend, who was drunk. When she confronted him, he began to hit and choke her. The man’s buddy walked in on the attack and told them “If you’re going to fight, take it outside.” So his buddy grabbed the victim by the hair, pulled her out the door and tried to choke her with a pine bough. A friend of the woman’s in a car outside saw and dialed 911.
Blank asked members of the crowd to raise their hands if they knew of someone who had been a victim of domestic abuse. Most of the hands lifted. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“Nearly everyone is affected,” Blank said. “It’s not one of those news stories that’s off in the distance. It’s all around us.”
And it’s happening constantly.
“Before I begin, I want you to be aware that by the time I’m finished speaking, at least five women will be battered,” said Elsa Swenson, CASDA legal advocate.
Community Policing Officer Bonnie Beste with the Superior Police Department told the crowd that everyone can be part of the solution. Teach children to respect themselves and each other; don’t sit by when you see violence and support survivors, she said.
People can also support victims by directing them to CASDA, 715-392-3136, 800-649-2921 or online at www.casda.org.
The organization will be holding a donation drive to support the women and children who seek shelter there. The donation drive will takes place 1-5 p.m. Oct. 10-12 at the East End Super One, 2222 E. Fifth St. Needed items include cleaning supplies, paper products, bedding, pillows, gift cards, trash bags, over-the-counter medication and laundry supplies.
More information on the domestic violence homicides in Wisconsin last year are available online at www.wcadv.org/home.