DVAM provides an excellent opportunity for communities in Washburn County to demonstrate their commitment to ending domestic violence and support the numerous survivors who are among us. Throughout October, communities across the country will mourn for those whose lives were taken by domestic violence, celebrate the tremendous progress advocates have made over the years, and connect with one another with a true sense of unity to end domestic violence.

Back row, left to right: Penny Dunlavey, Kayla Pruno, Cathy Maas, Rozanne Livingston, Julia Hurt, Ashley Reine, Dana Olson, Heidi Stellrecht - Front row, left to right: Danielle Neurer, Rena Revak, Deb Clark, Joan Fischer, Jim LeDuc, Brittny Olson, Jessica Christianson

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish and maintain power and control in a relationship. Abusive behaviors may include physical acts, sexual violence, neglect, verbal and emotional abuse, stalking, and financial abuse. These behaviors can be used by intimate partners, dating partners, parents, caregivers, roommates, and other family members. Domestic violence has no barriers. It does not discriminate. Anyone can be a victim regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status or religion.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly twenty-four people are abused by their partner every minute, equaling nearly twelve million people a year. One in three women and one in four men will experience abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. Many domestic violence incidents are never reported, and with social media movements like #WhyIDidntReport, the question commonly asked of survivors of domestic violence is: why didn’t you just leave?

Tracy Gifford and Rene Revak

The decision to leave an abusive relationship is often one of the most difficult decisions a survivor will make. They risk their safety, as 75% of women killed in an abusive relationship are murdered during or after an attempt to leave the relationship. Isolation and manipulation are common tactics used by abusers, which often causes barriers like lack of access to cash, bank accounts or assets, as well as supportive family and friends. Survivors may experience a variety of emotions such as shame and guilt for not being able to make their relationship work, as well as fear of being alone. Many times they fear they will lose custody of their children or that the abusive partner may even harm their children. And although they know their relationship is unhealthy, they may still love their partner.

During October, Embrace will be out in the community providing education and awareness as well as support to survivors. You can also participate by:

  • Joining Law Enforcement and other community agencies in displaying a purple awareness ribbon on your vehicle.  The ribbons convey a powerful message that there is no place for domestic violence in the homes, neighborhoods, workplaces or schools of our community. These magnets can be picked up free of charge at the Embrace office.
  • Wearing purple on Thursday, October 18th for the 13th annual observation of Purple Thursday.  Don’t have a purple shirt?  You can purchase one for $10 at the Embrace Office or by calling 715.635.5245.  All proceeds will directly benefit survivors of domestic violence.
  • Purchasing a hot drink and using our custom coffee sleeves to support our “brew love, not hate” campaign. They are available at Alley Cats in Spooner, The Whistle Punk in Stone Lake, and Ed’s Pit Stop in Birchwood.
  • Walking with us at the 2nd Annual Bark Against Abuse Awareness Walk on Thursday, October 4th from 5-6pm at Copper Park Equestrian Trails in Ladysmith. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of the connection between animal abuse and family violence. Meet animals available for adoption from the Rusk County Animal Shelter, learn how to report animal abuse, meet other animal lovers and get a professional photo with your pet! There is no entry fee, but a donation to support your local animal shelter is suggested.
  • Honoring the lives lost to domestic violence in 2017 by observing the 72 lights displayed outside Economart in Spooner.
  • Snapping a photo and using the hashtag #EndDomesticViolence on social media anytime throughout the month. Be sure to tag Embrace as well!
  • Supporting survivors when they speak about the abuse they have suffered and helping them find the help they need to heal.

Back row left to right: Shannon Anderson (Washburn County Clerk of Courts), Reverend Susan Odegard (Salem Lutheran Church), Cassidy Watson (Washburn County Public Health), Renee Luel (Lakeland Family Resource Center), Jerusha Dryden (Washburn County District Attorney's Office), Mary Shepherd (Washburn County Salvation Army), Cara Murden (Washburn County Sheriff's Office), Tammy Fee (Washburn County Victim/Witness Coordinator), Stacia Cross (Washburn County Clerk of Courts), Amanda Shafer (Washburn County Clerk of Courts) - Middle row, left to right: Jessica Christianson (Embrace), Diane Neste (Spooner Health), Brittny Olson (Embrace), Tonya Haremza (Washburn County Clerk of Courts) - Front row, left to right: Angeline Winton (Washburn County District Attorney), Kim Gunderson (Washburn County Probation), Lindsay Pederson (Washburn County District Attorney's Office), Dave Wilson (Shell Lake Police Department), Dennis Stuart (Minong Police Department), Rhonda Kemp (Washburn County District Attorney's Office).

For more information about the events above, please connect with Embrace on Facebook or Instagram, look for posters around town, or give us a call!

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please know you are not alone.  Help is available.  Call Embrace at 1-800-924-0556 or text 715-532-6976 for completely confidential support.

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