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Domestic violence advocates to rally at courthouse

Local advocates join a statewide day of action to raise awareness about domestic violence on Tuesday, March 7 with a noon rally outside the Hubbard County Courthouse.

Advocates to end domestic violence will join survivors, civic leaders and community members at the noon really to draw support for domestic violence services and demand elected officials make ending violence a priority.

Headwaters Intervention Center (HIC) has teamed up with the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women for the statewide day of action entitled, "It Happens Here." The theme aims to recognize that domestic violence happens in every county, township and city across Minnesota to more than 65,000 people each year, according to information released by Headwaters Intervention Center. "It Happens Here" also sends the message that solutions to end violence happen locally with the investment of each member of the community.

This is the first year the HIC will hold a rally and the mayor this week signed a proclamation naming March 7 as Action Day.

"Domestic violence affects everyone and right now is an important time for our legislators and decision makers concerning funding for much needed services in our community," said Amy Workman, Headwaters Intervention Center Executive Director. "Last year, agencies like HIC had to say, 'I'm sorry. I'd like to help you but I can't.'"

"I don't want to say that anymore in our community," Workman adds. "Please come out to support putting an end to domestic violence on March 7."

Headwaters Intervention Center & Family Crisis Center will display a blue flag with the words "Live Free Without Violence" at the rally and recite the names of victims murdered due to domestic violence in 2016. All participating agencies at the 25 sites across the state will read from the same script at noon on March 7. Speakers at rally Headwaters Intervention Center & Family Crisis will include Audrey Iverson, Founder of Headwaters Intervention Center, as well as victims' advocates and volunteers at HIC.

"In Minnesota, in one month, rape and abuse victims said 'help me' 11,000 times, and victim services were forced to say 'I want to help you, but I can't,'" said Liz Richards, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. "Our elected officials have the responsibility to maintain funding for these life-saving services."

The statewide day of action comes as state and federal legislators begin budget discussions, including funding for domestic and sexual violence victim services. The financial support provided by the legislature makes it possible to provide essential safety services such as safe housing and sexual assault examinations in communities across the state.

The statewide day of action comes just one day before "A Day Without A Woman," a general strike organized by the Women's March, on March 8 which is also International Women's Day.