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On domestic violence in Freeborn County

Imagine yourself in a situation where you have no real choices in life; where another person is making choices for you every second of every day — even when they are not around.

It is hard for you to experience joy or to move out of a constant state of fear that you will be punished if you say or do the “wrong” thing.

To an outsider, it may seem easy to leave a relationship like this, but in reality it is extremely difficult for people who are struggling with domestic violence to recognize the choices they have.

Battering is a systematic pattern of violent, controlling, coercive behaviors intended to punish, abuse and ultimately control the thoughts, beliefs and action of the victim.

Batterers commonly isolate their victims as one tactic of maintaining power and control over their victims. They frequently:

Refuse access to family vehicles or prevent a woman from getting a driver’s license.

Ridicule her in front of friends and family so that she’s reluctant to have them come to her home.

Accuse her of flirting or having affairs and because of this suspicion, beating her for even limited contact with another person.

Remove the telephone when leaving the home or calling her every hour to monitor her whereabouts.

Threaten or beat her when she returns from an outing with women friends.

Threaten to kill her if she tells anyone about the abuse.

(Information taken from a document prepared by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women.)

Battering does happen in Freeborn County. Here are our statistics:

In the year 2009, Crime Victims Crisis Center served the following unduplicated consumers. The second number reflects contacts with those individuals.

Domestic violence victims equals 251 victims served.

Domestic violence victims equals 2,495.

Information and referral:

Domestic violence victims equals 1,630.

Services provided:

Domestic violence victims equals 2,495.

It should be noted these numbers reflect only NEW consumers served, not ongoing contact with consumers.

Freeborn County Domestic Abuse Program

Currently, Freeborn County Domestic Abuse Program offers a 27-session educational group for men who are court ordered to attend. The group is two hours. In 2009, 37 males were served. Eighty-six children were affected by these 37 individual’s violence. In 2008, 47 males were served. Ninety-six children were affected by these 47 individuals’ violence. In 2007, 42 males were served. Eighty-eight children were affected by those participants.

In recent years, Freeborn County has had two deaths due to intimate partner violence. Note the number of children that are affected by violence in their families. What are these children learning about equality and respect in relationships? Children’s homes should be the safest, most nurturing environment for them to learn and grow. This does not happen when violence is in the family.

On July 21 a discussion will be happening with representatives from the Greater Twin Cities United Way in Albert Lea. Locally, and statewide, efforts are underway to address gender violence in our communities. Freeborn County United Way is co-sponsoring this event with the Freeborn County Domestic Abuse Project.

Those of us responding to gender violence in our community need your help.

Find out how you can be part of the solution to say no to violence in families in our community! Contact the Freeborn County Crime Victims Services to learn more about how you, your business, and or faith community can become part of the solution. CVCC can be reached by calling 377-5460.

Thank you for choosing to be informed!

Rose Olmsted is the coordinator of the Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center.