Letter to the Editor: Keep Eyes Open to Abuse

For most of us, the coming holiday season brings a sense of joy, hope and renewed promise. However, for the victims of domestic violence, the holidays are sad days of struggle with feelings of never-ending hopelessness. Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States. If you are one of the fortunate people who has never experienced domestic abuse, you should be aware that it is happening around us every day here in Door County.

Last year, HELP of Door County provided services to 234 residents (a 57 percent increase) and fielded 588 hotline calls (an increase of 79 percent). With statistics showing that 1-in-3 women and 1-in-4 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, it’s evident that each of us likely knows someone in this situation — or will know someone in the future. Domestic abuse is an epidemic that will take the rallying of our entire community to change.

While these statistics are staggering, the impact of domestic violence goes far beyond the two people directly involved. Domestic violence goes beyond the walls of someone’s home. Domestic violence traumatizes children and can have devastating lifetime effects.

Over the past year, we have seen how domestic violence impacts communities with the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and more recently, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The common element in both of these tragedies (as it is in more than half of all mass murders) is that the perpetrators were also domestic abusers — often having a long history of criminal domestic-violence charges.

We as a community can do something about this. Domestic violence can only end if we first recognize that this is not just a “woman’s problem,” it is in fact a people problem. We need men to step up and help to change our current false paradigm about what healthy manhood and genuine masculinity mean. All of us need to educate ourselves and learn about the signs of abuse – we need to keep our eyes open and listen to victims. If you or a loved one is in immediate danger from a domestic violence situation, don’t hesitate – please dial 911. For non-life- threatening situations, please know that you can call us anytime at our 24-hour hotline at 800.91.HELP or during business hours at 920.743.8785.

At HELP of Door County, we work collaboratively with our community partners to prevent domestic violence and abuse in our community while working to create a safer community through our education and outreach efforts. Let’s all join together to protect our community, our families, our friends and our children, and make the holidays a joyful hopeful season for everyone!


Steve Vickman, Executive Director, HELP of Door County

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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