What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically.


Domestic violence facts

  • •In the United States, more than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually.
  • •One in four women and one in 10 men experience sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
  • •On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive over 19,000 calls.
  • •Intimate partner violence is most common against women between the ages of 18-24.
  • •19 percent of intimate partner violence involves a weapon.
  • •Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year, the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.

Wear your purple ribbon

Domestic Violence Awareness Month every October is a time to remind Winona of the hidden acts of violence many women, children and men face daily in their homes; a place they once associated with comfort and love. Wearing a purple ribbon is an easy way to show your support to end domestic violence. Although purple is a symbol of pain and suffering that reminds us of the bruises many people have sustained at the hands of their abusers, purple is also a symbol of hope for those affected by domestic violence. People wearing purple ribbons let victims know someone cares about them, and they want to help end domestic violence. Wearing the color purple or your purple ribbon in public not only raises awareness, but also inspires more people to get involved.


Ways you can help prevent sexual and domestic violence

Be a learner: Learn about the facts and red flags of domestic and sexual violence. When available come to informative community panels and presentations. Contact Winona County Primary Prevention Project Chair Helen Bagshaw 507-313-4092

Be a listener: When someone talks about an experience which may sound like sexual assault or domestic violence, speak as little as possible. Let the person tell their story. Do not question their actions or what they did. Listen to them tell you what was happening in their life. 

Be a supporter: Offer the person support. Ask them if they want to talk withthe Advocacy Center of Winona for additional help. Ask them if they need a ride or help in getting to a place for help. Ask them what they want; do not tell them what to do. 

Be an up-stander: If you see a person taking someone from the bar who is too drunk to go home with someone else, speak up, and ask the drunken person if they know the person taking them, ortalk to a bouncer or bartender about the situation, or see if you can find the friends the drunken person came in with. If you see someone beinghurt, or yelled at, decide whether you can get involved safely. You may want to ask someone for help; remember it is not always safe to intercede. 

Be a leader: In your place of work bring up discussions of domestic and sexual violence. With others, think of ways to help make your work site a place which supports survivors and stands up against abusers. What this could look like would be different in each work site. 

Be a teacher: Use your knowledge to teach people about the facts of sexual and domestic violence. Be truthful about its effects and the number of incidents in Winona County. Talk about ways to prevent violence.

Be a speaker: Speak out against sexual and domestic violence in your community, at events and through your actions. Participate in the messaging campaign to raise awareness and to speak out againstviolence. Speak up when someone tells an anti-woman joke or story – say it is not funny and supports violence and woman abuse.

Be a policy maker: Work to implement preventive policies and practices where you are employed, in your organization, or faith community. Show support for legislation which helps survivors and prevents domestic and sexual violence before it starts. Support educational policies which teach children about preventing sexual and domestic violence and encourage respect for all. 

If you need help: 

  • •If you are in immediate danger, call 911. 
  • •24-hour Crisis Line Advocacy Center of Winona 507-452-4453
  • •To speak to Advocacy Center of Winona staff about services 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., call 507-452-4440 or speak to an advocate online at www.advocacywinona.org.
  • •National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)