Domestic violence awareness in Lake CountyTwo hundred sixty-eight women and children sought help from North Shore Horizons last year. The program serves Lake County victims of domestic violence from its offices in Two Harbors, said Steph Coffey, Program Coordinator.
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Two hundred sixty-eight women and children sought help from North Shore Horizons last year. The program serves Lake County victims of domestic violence from its offices in Two Harbors, said Steph Coffey, Program Coordinator.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and North Shore Horizons and other battered women’s programs throughout the country will be hard at work to educate their communities about battering, resources for help for victims.
Efforts in Minnesota include the publication of the annual femicide report by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, a membership organization that 90 member programs throughout the state. Femicides , for the purposes of the report are defined as “cases of women murdered where the suspected, alleged, or convicted perpetrator was a current or former husband, boyfriend, intimate partner, household member, or family member,” according to the MCBW website.
The report also includes children killed in domestic violence and those who may have tried to intervene on the victim’s behalf. The Femicide Report has been compiled since 1989.
Domestic violence may take many forms but MCBW defines it as a “pattern of violence that affects the level of fear and quality of life for all women—it encompasses both physical and sexual violence and includes pervasive emotional abuse and threats, control over finances and access to transportation; manipulation of and often harm to the children.”
In 2011, a total of 34 women, children and others were killed in incidences related to domestic violence, including one police officer. The figures, MCBW points out, come primarily from news reports and may not be include all victims. “No state or federal agency collects comprehensive data on domestic homicides. In addition, the murders of women and children of color, Native American women and children, immigrant and refugee women and children, women and children living in poverty, rural women, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, may be higher… as they frequently go unreported in mainstream media.”
Lynne Counter is a Two Harbors woman and survivor of domestic violence. For her, the physical violence hadn’t been ongoing, but “he’d been drinking a lot and one night he kicked over my chair and started kicking me. He kicked me in the stomach and I had bruises on my arms and legs. He just wouldn’t quit,” she recounted. “I tried to call 911, but he took my phone away. Finally, he put the phone on the window sill and I was able to get it and call 911,” she said.
Counter was taken to the hospital where staff checked her for a concussion and took photographs of her bruises. Her abuser was taken to jail where he was held and was ultimately sentenced to serve additional jail time and five years’ probation, she said. Counter added that he later spent time in prison for abusing another area woman.
“I’m doing good now that he’s out of my life, but I’m still afraid,” said Counter, “I have deadbolts on all my doors and I keep them locked at all times.” She has also had a protective order—sometimes called a restraining order—in place for four years, she said.
When the abuse occurred, “North Shore Horizons and the [Two Harbors] police helped me a lot. I also had a therapist I could talk to. I talked to a lot of people,” Counter added.
To call attention to domestic violence, a crime that occurs every 15 seconds in the United States, North Shore Horizons has events planned throughout the month of October.
On Oct. 4, at their offices and Oct. 18 at the Two Harbors Library --5:30-7 p.m. both evenings-- North Shore Horizons will host an event in which the community will have an opportunity to design t-shirts that will be hung in the public libraries in Silver Bay and Two Harbors during the week of Oct. 22-25. Materials will be provided and anyone can participate. T-shirts will tell a story or make a statement against violence using words and/ or art.
If someone in your family or a partner is hurting you physically or emotionally, threatening you or your children, or controlling your finances and access to transportation, family or friends call North Shore Horizons at 834-5924.