October is Domestic Abuse awareness month. Here’s how to find help in Kewaunee County
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 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 one on three women and one in four 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 2019, there were 48 domestic abuse homicide incidents which resulted in 72 deaths. Yet, less than half of all domestic violence incidents are reported to law enforcement. This compares to 37 domestic abuse homicides in 2018 resulting in 38 deaths.
Sadly, domestic abuse also is the No. 1 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 2019 our very own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project served 115 women, 22 men and 56 children that were domestic violence victims.
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Traditionally, the Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project would hold an awareness event later this month; however, this is no traditional year.
But, the absence of such an event should not lesson our sense of awareness, and now more than ever we need to be looking out for our friends and neighbors.
It is important to note that many times domestic violence originates from an increase in stressors within a relationship, and we have experienced our fair share of potential stressors both nationally as well as locally within this past year.
If you know of someone living in an abusive relationship, please encourage them to reach out for help. 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 take the time to reach out 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. Teaching them how to establish and maintain healthy loving relationships is the greatest obligation we have.
For more information on what to look for or how to start the conversation, please feel free to call the Violence Intervention Project at 920-487-2111 or visit vipadvocates.net. The 24-hour help line is 877-847-3223.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: October is Domestic Abuse awareness month. Here's how to find help in Kewaunee County