What comes to mind when you hear “domestic violence? A black eye? To some, their understanding of domestic violence is dramatized abuse portrayed in the movies. For others, it’s real, tangible past or current trauma experienced by someone they love.
October is known and recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The realities of domestic violence are far more complex than a black eye or hidden bruise. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish and maintain power and control in a relationship. Some of these patterns could include using coercion, threats, intimidation, and isolation. Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual. These behaviors can be used by intimate partners, dating partners, parents, caregivers, roommates, and other family members.
“There are several reasons we draw attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” said Embrace Domestic Violence Program Coordinator, Alyssa Melin. “We strive to make our communities a safer place by believing victims, improving systems which hold offenders accountable, and raising awareness about the realities of violence”.
Domestic violence happens in every community across the world. It affects everyone regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status. Here in Washburn County, Embrace served 272 adults, teens, and kids with in-person domestic and sexual violence counseling and advocacy services in 2019.
“Because of COVID-19, we’ve had to be very creative in finding ways to safely help the individuals we serve which means we have scaled back in-person counseling and advocacy,” Melin said. “But advocates are still available 24/7 by phone and video chat. We are also hosting confidential virtual support groups for adults and teens.”
Last year, domestic violence claimed 85 lives in Wisconsin with 15% of the victims being under the age of 18. This averages out to 1 death every 4.2 days. To remember the lives lost, Embrace will display 85 lights in each of our counties during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You can find the Spooner light display by Economart.
Would you like to get involved? Throughout October, Embrace will be working to raise awareness about the need to end domestic violence in our local communities. Here is how you can be involved:
- Brew love, not hate. Embrace is grateful to be partnering again this fall with Alley Cats Coffee in Spooner, The Whistle Punk in Stone Lake, and Ed’s Pit Stop in Birchwood to bring the “brew love, not hate” awareness campaign to Washburn County. Take a stand against intimate partner violence by purchasing a coffee and using our custom-made coffee cup sleeves.
- Purple Thursday. You can show your support for survivors by participating in Purple Thursday on October 15th. Put on something purple, snap a picture, and post your support on social media.
- Purple Ribbon Display. Check out our purple ribbon displays posted outside Spooner Police Department and Shell Lake City Park. The ribbons include information and statistics regarding domestic violence.
- Letter writing event. Join Embrace for their first ever letter writing event Survived & Incarcerated in WI. This virtual event will be hosted by Embrace and feature a guest speaker, Sara Krall, from End Domestic Abuse WI. Participants will learn about self-defense homicide cases and why there is no “perfect victim”. There will be an opportunity to write letters of support to women currently surviving jail or prison time for killing their abusers. The event is October 27th from 7pm-8pm via Zoom.
Watch our social media for highlights from community partners supporting survivors throughout the month.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, we believe you and you are not alone. Embrace is here to help. You can contact Embrace for free, confidential support at 1-800-924-0556 or text 715-532-6976.
Embrace Services, Inc.: Embrace is the leading voice and comprehensive advocacy services provider for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in the four-county service area of Northwestern Wisconsin. At Embrace, we provide unwavering support to survivors. Through education and awareness, we engage our communities and create multi-disciplinary partnerships to increase safety and equity advancing our mission of ending gender-based violence. We strive to create a courageous social change that will end all forms of oppression in our communities. Everyone deserves healthy communities and the support to thrive.