October is known and recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). In past years, you may have stopped reading here, simply because “it does not pertain to me.” The truth is, it does. Why? Because you are the partner, parent, sibling, co-worker, employer, neighbor, or friend of someone who has been impacted by domestic violence, whether you are aware of it or not. This isn’t an issue that only victims should be concerned about. It’s on all of us to make our communities a safer place by believing victims, holding offenders accountable, and raising awareness about the reality 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. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States alone, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner violence every minute. Locally, Embrace served 789 adults, teens, and kids with in-person domestic and sexual violence counseling and advocacy services in 2018 - a 27% increase in in-person services when compared to 2017. Service numbers are projected to continue climbing through 2019.
Last year, domestic violence claimed 67 lives in Wisconsin with 12% of the victims being under the age of 18. This averages out to 1 death every 5.4 days. To remember the lives lost, Embrace will display 67 lights in each of our counties during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In an effort to prevent future domestic violence homicides, Embrace partnered with 12 law enforcement agencies this year to implement and train officers in the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). LAP is an evidence-based way to connect victims to Embrace’s supportive and non-judgmental services during law enforcement’s response to domestic violence incidents.
Throughout October, Embrace will be working to raise awareness about the need to end domestic violence in our local communities and how you can get involved. Embrace is grateful to be partnering 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 for the second year. Take a stand against intimate partner violence by purchasing a coffee and using our custom-made coffee cup sleeves! Displays with information about DVAM and the services available at Embrace will also be put up at the Health and Human Services building and the Washburn County Courthouse in Shell Lake and NorthLakes Community Clinic in Minong. You can show your support for survivors by participating in Purple Thursday on October 24th. It’s easy; all you have to do is wear purple!
Lastly, the Washburn County Coordinated Community Response (CCR) Team, a group of interdisciplinary professionals addressing the prevention, intervention, and collaborative response to domestic and sexual violence, is hosting a basic needs drive collecting the following new, unopened items: pads, tampons, sports bras, underwear, socks, and deodorant. Get involved this DVAM by dropping off any of the needed items at the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office, Washburn County Health and Human Services, Salem Lutheran Church, Spooner Middle School, Spooner Health, NorthLakes Community Clinic, or Embrace.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, our offices and shelter are a safe space to get free and completely 24 hours a day. Call or text Embrace: (715) 532-6976 or check us out on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.