By Tim Kowols
Fostering the conversation about domestic abuse in Kewaunee County is having a positive effect on its victims. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million women and men are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner every year. In Kewaunee County, local justice partners have implemented new screening methods to help determine the potential risk of people returning home to abusive situations. The Algoma-based Violence Intervention Project continues to give people a safe place to go for support, serving close to 200 women, men, and children. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says those two efforts have helped people understand that they do not need to be in an abusive relationship.
The Violence Intervention Project will host its annual lighting ceremony in support of those affected by domestic violence on October 23rd at Grace Lutheran Church in Kewaunee beginning at 6 p.m. You can read the full Sheriff’s Corner article with Matt Joski online with this story.
The month of October is recognized as National Domestic Abuse awareness month. This is truly a global issue whose victims walk among us every day. Domestic abuse is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault or other abusive behavior as part of a systemic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. While most of us associate domestic abuse with physical abuse, other forms include psychological and emotional abuse.
It is reported that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. On average nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, which over a year’s time equates to 10 million women and men.
Here in Wisconsin during 2017 there were 40 Domestic Abuse homicide incidents which resulted in 62 deaths, and yet less than half of all domestic violence incidents are reported to law enforcement. This compares to 51 Domestic Abuse Homicides in 2016 resulting in 73 deaths.
Sadly, domestic abuse is the number one cause of birth defects. More than all other medical causes combined.
In all of this tragedy there is good news. We have organizations and individuals working tirelessly to put an end to domestic violence by being the voice of the victims. They are ready to serve as advocates for those who fear to speak for themselves. In 2018 we have worked together with our local Justice partners to implement a new screening method known as the Lethality Assessment Program to more effectively determine the potential risk to those living in an abusive relationship. In 2017 our very own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project served 137 women, 20 men and 41 children that were domestic violence victims.
To commemorate this month’s awareness, and to support those affected by domestic violence here in Kewaunee County, the Violence Intervention Project will be holding a lighting ceremony at Grace Lutheran Church on October 23rd at 6:00 P.M. This has become an annual tradition of support and sharing, and all members of our community are welcome to attend. We will be lighting candles in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and will be joined by a guest speaker. For more information on this event, please feel free to contact the Violence Intervention Project at 487-2111
If you know of someone living in an abusive relationship, please encourage them to attend this event. It may be the first step in changing their lives for the better. More importantly, if you yourself are a victim of Domestic Abuse, please consider taking the time to attend and surround yourself with people who are ready and willing to help you take that first step. This is especially important if you are a parent, as you not only have the ability to change your life for the better, but more importantly change the lives of your children preventing them from being the next generation of either abusers or victims. As parents our primary duty is to our children and teaching them how to establish and maintain healthy loving relationships is the greatest obligation we have.