As we head into October, we see many groups bringing awareness to their organizations that are near and dear to their hearts. According to nationaldaycalendar.com, domestic violence shares October with 29 other awareness groups. Why pay attention to domestic violence? It does not happen in our area, right?
“911, what is your emergency?” This question was heard 183 times in Burnett County and 242 times in Polk county by men, women and children in 2019, calling for help. The people making these calls could have been your neighbor, someone you work with, you, or a family member. Each call was a plea for help from a dangerous situation. Each call was a plea to be rescued from domestic violence. If you drive on Hwy 35 in Siren, look at the lot by the stop lights or as you are on Highway 35 in Milltown, look by the Village park. There you will see purple pinwheels where each pinwheel represents one call for help in 2019 from someone facing domestic violence.
The sad reality of domestic violence is that those numbers are low. The number of survivors that do not call 911 out of fear is staggering. People stay in abusive relationships for many reasons but the reality is that most people do not want to stay in a domestic violent relationship. They stay because they are terrified of the alternative. Not all people will recognize or label what is happening to them as domestic violence. Studies have shown that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when they decide to leave. The abuser can become even more violent at the thought of losing control of their victim.
There are many forms of domestic violence. Domestic violence is not just physical violence, it can be more than bruises and broken bones. It can also be verbal, sexual, financial, psychological, or stalking which also can include harassment over social media. Domestic violence can also be against men, women, or children. It does not consider age, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, education level or income level.
In their lifetime, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have reported having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically from case to case. It also may start with something like stalking and escalate to physical or sexual violence over time.
Just because it is October does not mean that we need to look closer at domestic violence. We need to look closer at domestic violence because it needs to stop. To learn more about domestic violence and what you can do to help survivors and their families, go to www.crashelter.org or contact our shelter for more information.
If you or someone else needs help or someone to talk to, please contact our facility. Our Advocates are trained to help survivors navigate through everything they may be dealing with and offer resources to help.
Submitted by: Community Referral Agency
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