Weapon of Choice raises verbal abuse awareness
By Anna Ericksonaerickson@parkrapidsenterprise.com Words can hurt. That's the message the Headwaters Intervention Center is portraying at its annual benefit dinner Oct. 25. Kari May, executive director of the Headwaters Intervention Center, disco...
By Anna Erickson
Words can hurt.
That’s the message the Headwaters Intervention Center is portraying at its annual benefit dinner Oct. 25.
Kari May, executive director of the Headwaters Intervention Center, discovered the Weapon of Choice Project from her daughter. “She said, ‘Mom, check this out.’”
The project includes a gallery of photos displaying people with hurtful words painted on their faces.
The Weapon of Choice Project was conceived to provide a graphic demonstration of the invisible pain caused by verbal abuse. It is meant to provoke a conversation about the problems of domestic violence, child abuse and bullying.
“It’s very graphic but that’s the point,” May said. “Verbal abuse is a component in domestic abuse and sexual abuse.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. May thought that a display of the photos would fit in well at the Headwaters Intervention Center and Family Crisis Center’s fall fundraising dinner. The fundraiser features a roast turkey dinner and is from 4:30-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Park Rapids American Legion.
“We’re hoping that people will come out and take a look at the display and raise awareness about verbal abuse,” May said.
Advocates at HIC work with a lot of people who suffer from verbal abuse. It can be difficult because without documentation it’s hard to prosecute, she said.
Many victims of domestic or sexual abuse are also verbally abused, May added.
The verbal abuse awareness project was put together using photographer Rich Johnson of Spectacle Photo. For more information about the project go to www.hurtwords.com .
Domestic violence continues to be a concern in this area.
The Headwaters Intervention Center served 139 women, 108 children and 12 men from October 2013 through the end of July.
“The true numbers of domestic violence are likely to be much higher than these statistics show as many cases are unreported or not taken to court,” May said.
The 2013 Femicide report (released in January of this year) reported that in Minnesota, at least 25 women were murdered in cases where the suspected, alleged, or convicted perpetrator was a current or former husband, boyfriend, or male intimate partner.
At least six family members/friends were murdered in domestic violence-related situations, at least seven men were murdered in cases where the suspected, alleged, or convicted perpetrator was a current or former husband, boyfriend or intimate partner and at least 12 minor children were left motherless due to domestic violence murders.
A copy of the 2013 Femicide report will be available at the fundraiser dinner as well as a memorial to those killed so far this year in conjunction with the “Live free without Violence” flag campaign.
The Femicide report focuses specifically on those killed by former intimate partners and as a result of domestic violence between current or former intimate partners.
The term “At least...” is used because Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women’s statistics are a compilation of information gathered from public sources, primarily news reports. There is no state or federal agency that collects comprehensive data on domestic homicides.
Additionally, the murders of women and children of color, Native American people, immigrant and refugee women and children, those living in poverty, people with disabilities, rural women, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, and those exploited in prostitution and sex trafficking may be under-reported in the listing as they frequently go unreported in mainstream media.
The Headwaters Intervention Center is willing to put on presentations for community groups interested in learning more about the program and domestic violence concerns.
For more information call the Headwaters Intervention Center at 732-7413.