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Take a stand against domestic violence

We invite readers to take a stand against domestic violence. October has been designated National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so we at the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center encourage readers to learn more about how to end domestic violence in our communities.

Domestic violence is a problem that is too often kept quiet or ends with devastating results. The human cost is staggering. This year, 16 women, 3 children and 1 man have lost their lives in domestic-violence-related homicides, according to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. And in 2010, the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center provided shelter and domestic violence services to 338 men, women and children. Our community's response is critical both for victims' safety and perpetrator accountability. Victims of domestic violence must be provided protection and given the support necessary to improve their circumstances. And, perpetrators must be held accountable for their violence and be given appropriate penalties that require changes in their behavior.

Ending domestic violence takes neighbors, business owners and faith communities willing to get involved and to provide a circle of support. It takes families, friends, neighbors and co-workers saying, we will do what it takes to stop the violence and reinforce support for programs that focus on safety and justice for men, women and their children. By assuring that each individual is valued and supported, we may be able to stop, or at least interrupt, the intergenerational cycle of abuse, neglect and violence. Let's do it for all the Minnesotans who have lost their lives due to domestic violence. Let's work together to end the lethality of violence against women and children.

If you or someone you know is struggling with abuse, please seek assistance from law enforcement or a domestic violence program such as the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center. You can contact us at 218-847-7446 or you can also contact the Day One Crisis Line at 1-866-223-1111 for assistance to a program nearest you.

We thank you for your time, interest and support to women and children living in Becker County and in Minnesota. -- Leona Ulrich, crime victim advocate, Lakes Crisis and Resource Center