The Olmsted County Board of Commissioners voiced its support for Domestic Violence Awareness Month on October 5, 2021, with a proclamation calling on all citizens to increase awareness and understanding of domestic violence.
Domestic violence remains a pervasive issue across Olmsted County, the U.S., and the world affecting millions of women, men, children, and communities.
“Every day in Olmsted County, individuals and organizations play a part in supporting people impacted by domestic violence by providing services including therapeutic, legal, educational, housing advocacy, and medical services,” said Olmsted County Board of Commissioners Chair Stephanie Podulke.
Domestic violence does not always manifest in one specific way. It can take the form of emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, and physical abuse. Some signs of abuse include:
- Telling the victim they can never do anything right.
- Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move or controlling who the victim sees.
- Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses.
- Pressuring the victim to have sex or forcing them to use drugs or alcohol.
- Threatening to hurt or kill the victim and their friends, loved ones, or pets.
In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed legislation designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“In the 32 years since the designation, we continue to see that domestic violence is a significant issue in our community requiring a community wide response by various partners. Last year, Olmsted County Victim Services provided significant support to over 600 victims of domestic violence including court advocacy, safety planning, help with meeting basic needs, and many other services,” said Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Victim Services Program Manager Laura Sutherland.
Throughout the past year, Olmsted County Victim Services delivered more than 21,000 services to victims of domestic violence. Olmsted County Victims Services can be reached at 507-328-7270. Victim Services advocates are a resource for support, information, and referrals for all victims of sexual assault, sexual violence, and general crime. The advocates are specially trained to support and educate those affected by violence and crime.
Another local resource is the Women’s Shelter Inc. providing outreach, advocacy, and housing to battered women and their children. The Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association fosters the well-being and independence of refugees and immigrants resettled in Rochester and surrounding areas through its programs, including victim services.
“Every person deserves to be safe, to be treated with dignity, and no one should be silenced by the shame and fear created by domestic violence,” said Podulke.