October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Displayed on the grounds of The Women’s Center are full-sized purple silhouettes representing those who were killed in Waukesha County by domestic violence since 1992. New silhouettes have been added, commemorating 5 Waukesha County women who were murdered as a result of domestic abuse. This memorial is displayed throughout the month of October in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness month. The Women’s Center began this display in 1992, honoring those in the community who lost their lives to domestic violence.
“We have witnessed an increase in the scope and complexity of abuse experienced by individuals,” said executive director, Marie F. Kingsbury. “Several studies on domestic abuse state there has been approximately a 75 percent increase in women seeking healing services and protection just in the Midwest."
A recent homicide report by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence confirms this, stating there was a total of 48 domestic violence homicides, up 50 percent from the year prior. In Waukesha County alone, five victims died as a result of domestic violence, including Shanel Negron, Jennifer Sebena, and the Azana Spa victims, Zina Haughton, Maelyn Lind and Cary Robuck.
In 2012, police departments throughout Waukesha County responded to more than 800 domestic violence-related emergency calls. Law enforcement referred over half of these victims to The Women’s Center. Domestic violence continues to be an underreported crime, and the reality is that the public rarely hears about it unless it results in a homicide.
As an independent, non-profit human service agency founded in 1977, The Women’s Center provides a wide range of free and comprehensive services designed to address the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse. These services include emergency shelter for abused women and their children, transitional living, group and individual counseling, onsite and respite childcare, child abuse prevention programming, legal advocacy and employment counseling. The Center also provides Hispanic outreach, community education programs, information and referral services, and a 24-hour crisis line.
Editor's Note: The above information was provided to Patch via a news release from The Women's Center.