Stopping domestic violence

IRON MOUNTAIN – Caring House has launched a month-long observance for October Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a cross display at First Covenant Church in Iron Mountain.

Each cross in the display represents an individual who was killed due to domestic violence, said officials at Caring House, a domestic violence shelter in Iron Mountain.

Among the lives lost was Trish Waschbisch, the interim director of Rainbow House in Marinette, Wis. Waschbisch was killed on April 28 at her home in Peshtigo, Wis. Her boyfriend was charged with the murder.

Domestic violence claims an average of 2,000 lives each year, Caring House officials said.

A new report says 52 people died as the result of domestic abuse in Wisconsin in 2012, including four perpetrators who took their own lives.

The analysis from the advocacy group End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin says that since 2000, there have been 499 domestic violence homicides in the state. At least 53 victims were killed by a domestic abuser with an illegal gun. Another 189 people were killed with legal guns.

End Domestic Abuse executive director Patti Seger tells the Journal Sentinel domestic violence homicides are preventable homicides, but too often abusers are not held accountable and are allowed to illegal possess guns.

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, more than 3,000 people were killed in Sept. 11 attacks and some 2,000 victims are killed each year in the U.S. in domestic violence incidents.

The response by U.S. officials has been quite different, says Ben Atherton-Zeman of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

While billions of dollars were spend on the war in Iraq, funding for domestic violence has been reduced.

“Why the disparity? It is in large part because of victim blaming,” Atherton-Zeman said. “Nobody blames the people for going to work in the Twin Towers that day. But every day, people blame the victims of domestic abuse for the violence perpetrated against them.”

“People say, ‘I wouldn’t let anybody do that to me,’ not realizing the implications for blame for those who stay with abusive spouses and partners. People ask, ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ instead of ‘Why is he abusing her?’ and ‘What can we do to help?'” Atherton-Zeman said.

In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Caring House is asking area residents to “Shine a Light” on the issue by displaying a light in their windows to demonstrate a unified stand that domestic violence is not acceptable in the area.

Other Caring House activities scheduled for Domestic Violence Awareness Month include:

– Break the Silence, noon on Oct. 8. Residents are encouraged to honk their horns in a procession from the Dickinson County Sheriff”s Office to Caring House. Caring House will be hosting an open house following the procession.

– Paint the City Purple, local businesses will be displaying purple ribbons in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

– Purple Ribbon Campaign. Area residents are encouraged to wear a purple ribbon to show support for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

– Celebrity Waiters Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction, Oct. 24 at First Presbyterian Church in Iron Mountain from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

– Radio-thon on Oct. 31 from 7:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. on WJNR & WOBE Radio. The Caring House is asking businesses to encourage employees to make a donation, so they can dress up in a costume for that day.