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Walk brings awareness to domestic violence

Participants in the first annual Walk Against Domestic Violence gather at the Red Bridge in Park Rapids to drop a flower in memory of Dawn Anderson, a victim of domestic violence. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Walkers rallied Saturday for the first annual Walk Against Domestic Violence in Park Rapids.

The walk was hosted by the Headwaters Intervention Center. Participants carried signs with messages such as "I am against domestic violence" and "Domestic violence will not go away on its own. Take a stand."

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Shellie Jensen, advocate at Headwaters Intervention Center, organized the walk in memory of Dawn Anderson, who died in March as a result of domestic violence.

The walk started at the Hubbard County Courthouse and went to Red Bridge Park. At the Red Bridge participants tossed flowers into the river in memory of Dawn Anderson.

Pastor Tim Heinecke, of St. Johns Lutheran Church in Park Rapids, gave a short prayer. He was Anderson's pastor.

The walk ended at the Headwaters Intervention Center on south Main. Volunteers provided baked goods and flowers for the Red Bridge drop were donated by Park Rapids Floral.

Alda Jensen, advocate at Headwaters Intervention Center, said she hoped to have the walk again in future years.

The Headwaters Intervention Center will host a fall fundraiser and silent auction from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 at the Park Rapids American Legion.

Diners will have a choice of harvest beef stew or hearty chicken noodle soup in a fresh baked bread bowl with dessert.

The HIC is a 30-year-old, non-profit agency in Park Rapids dedicated to helping all victims of domestic violence and child abuse. As the economy tightens, the demand for services increases.

Sponsorships are invited at the harvest stew level of $250, hearty chicken noodle soup level of $150, bread bowl at $100, advertising sponsor of $50 or dinner roll at $25.

Donations for the silent auction - including gift certificates - are also welcome. Volunteers are also welcome at the Headwaters Intervention Center at any time.

Call 732-7413 or fax 732-8386.

Domestic and sexual

violence facts

Domestic and sexual violence are pervasive and life-threatening crimes affecting millions of individuals across our nation regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education.

According to information from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, nearly one in four women are beaten or rapedby a partner during adulthood and each year approximately 2.3 million people are raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

n One in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.

n Every day in the United States, an average of three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner.


Domestic violence and sexual assault severely impact not only victims, but entire communities. In addition to the devastating damage suffered by victims and their families, these crimes also have huge financial costs.

n During the 2010-11 fiscal year an estimated 320 primary victims were served by Headwaters Intervention Center and the Family Crisis Center.

n After calculating medical costs, court and law enforcement costs, property damage and costs incurred from lost productivity, domestic violence costs $16,449 a year per woman abused.

nTotal medical costs and loss of productivity due to domestic violence for the Headwaters Intervention Center and Family Crisis Center areas would total $5,263,680.

n Between one-quarter and one-half of domestic violence victims report that they lost a job, at least in part, due to domestic violence. Women who experienced domestic violence are more likely to experience periods of unemployment, have health problems, and be welfare recipients.

Domestic violence has been estimated to cost employers in the U.S. up to $13 billion each year.

Children and youth

Children are particularly vulnerable as both victims of and witnesses to domestic and sexual violence. In order to break the cycle of violence, we must intervene and provide services.

Approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year.

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. Incest

accounts for half of all sexual abuse cases.

Young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.

Children exposed to violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes.

Men exposed to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence as children are almost four times more likely than other men to have perpetrated domestic violence as adults, according to a large study.

Progress for domestic and sexual violence victims

Congress's commitment to improving the response to domestic and sexual violence has made a significant difference in the lives of victims. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), enacted in 1984, has been the foundation of the response to domestic violence victims, including shelters and outreach programs across the country.

The landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), first authorized in 1994, has changed the way federal, tribal, state and local entities respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.

VAWA saved an estimated nearly $14.8 billion in net averted costs in its first six years alone.

The number of women killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34 percent.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561