Domestic violence is a growing problem all around the United States. In Grant County, it has become a serious problem, local experts said.
Mary Ann Stutzman is the domestic violence program coordinator at Heart of Grant County. She is responsible for handling crisis intervention for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
Some of her responsibilities include providing peer counseling and helping arrange transport to shelters for the victims, as well as helping obtain restraining orders. She is also a legal advocate.
Stutzman has, on average, 20 domestic violence cases reported each month, and those are just the ones reported.
"At least half, probably closer to a third, go unreported," Stutzman said.
"Domestic violence is a big problem in Grant County due to the isolation, substance abuse and unemployment," Stutzman said.
"It's a big problem throughout the U.S.," Stutzman said.
Women aren't the only ones who report domestic violence, although they do make up the majority. In the six months that Stutzman has worked for Heart of Grant County, she has had one man report domestic violence to her.
In most of the cases that are reported to Stutzman, no charges are pressed against the offender, because the victim chooses not to press charges, or it is too late by the time they report the offender.
"Sometimes, most of the time, in fact, they just need someone to talk to," Stutzman said.
If the police are called to investigate a domestic violence case, however, it is out of the victim's hands, and charges are usually pressed.
Stutzman is there as a support for the victims throughout the process of reporting the abuse.
"It's a really bad problem," said Karen Johnston, who works for the district attorney's office in the victims assistance branch.
Domestic violence in Grant County is highly under-reported because of the distance, how spread out the county is, Johnston said.
She had 41 cases reported last year, for which nine restraining orders were issued.
To report domestic violence, call the Heart of Grant County's 24-hour hotline, 620-1342.
These men in Grant County have pledged to stand up against domestic violence.
A Message for WomenWomen do not ask for, cause, invite or deserve to be assaulted.
Women and men sometimes exercise poor judgement about safe behavior, but that does not make them responsible for an assault. Attackers use violence to overpower, control and abuse another person.
Women can't stop violence alone. We need to support each other and work with men who care about us. Together, we can create a safer future for women, children, and men.
An Invitation to MenWe know most of you would never beat your wife, your partner, your lover or any woman. We live and work with you. We love and respect you. You are our fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers, companions, friends and partners.
But there are men who are violent. Children learn about fear, brutality and humiliation from them. These men destroy families in the privacy of their own homes or shatter the lives of innocent strangers.
The next time you hear a man say he's going to show her who's boss, tell him that beating or attacking a woman is wrong. Tell him that you handle your anger and aggression differently. You talk things out when you have differences with your partner, You never punch, slap or kick, unless you are in the gym.
The next time you see or hear one of us in trouble, pay attention. We can't stop violence by ourselves. Join us.
- Women's Rural Advocacy Board