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November 22, 2019

10/17/2019 1:19:00 PM
A closer look at domestic violence

Every October, the Southwest Crisis Center joins organizations and individuals across the state and nation to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
For me this means a lot of things - mainly a sense of determination and hope, but also a chance to look inward and reflect. The Southwest Crisis Center provides free, confidential services in Cottonwood, Jackson, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock counties.
Regional statistics
In the past year, we served more than 400 individuals, including nearly 100 youth and children, who have experienced, firsthand, the effects of domestic and sexual violence. I look at this number and it feels like way too many.
Yet, according to the Department of Justice, one in four women and one in nine men will experience intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence or stalking over the course of their lifetime.
Pattern of control
Domestic violence does not have to include a bruise or black eye from a current or former intimate partner. However, it can.
Domestic violence is a pattern of power and control over another person, usually a current or former intimate partner, and can include physical, mental, sexual and emotional abuse or threats of abuse. While the impact of domestic violence on victims, children and families has gained more attention, it is less easy to identify when it's you who may be experiencing it.
If this is you, I would invite you to speak the words and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself the questions you need to ask.
Just because you do, doesn't mean your life is over. Rather, it is beginning. I cannot promise things will be easy, but what does get easier is taking care of yourself and knowing your worth.
A confidential option
The Southwest Crisis Center is a free and confidential option for you, right here in Cottonwood County. For family and friends, we are here to answer questions and offer guidance.
For community members, we are here to help educate and raise awareness about what domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking look like. For first responders, we are here alongside you.
We are here 24/7. Call us at 800-376-4311.
Sara Wahl is the executive director of the Southwest Crisis Center.

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