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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and an important time to recognize and stand up for victims and survivors.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. While we would like to think it doesn’t happen in our community, the unfortunate truth is that domestic violence is present in every community, even ours. Last year, Southern Valley Alliance assisted 201 individuals in Carver County and 375 in Scott County, and this doesn’t include the anonymous calls coming in to our 24/7 Crisis Line.

Because domestic violence does not discriminate against location, race, age, faith, class, immigration status, language, physical ability, gender or sexual orientation, it is increasingly important to speak out against it. Sadly, this problem is too often kept quiet. Experiences of abuse can be difficult to talk about, which results in victims staying silent, so we must encourage conversation around the topics of domestic violence and abuse. If we do not, the problems are not addressed and can lead to grave consequences. For instance, at least 30 people were victims of intimate partner homicide in Minnesota last year.

Ending domestic violence takes neighbors, businesses, faith communities, families, friends, and coworkers willing to be involved in ending the cycle of abuse. We all have a critical role to play in supporting survivors of abuse and preventing it from continuing in our community. Let’s stand up for all the Minnesotans who have lost their lives due to domestic violence and make our cities stronger and safer for everyone.

For more information or to get help, please contact Southern Valley Alliance at www.svamn.org or by calling 952-873-4214.

Christie Larson

SVA Executive Director