Madison—End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin is set to begin a new campaign to stop abuse before it ever happens. The project will work to shift the attitudes and beliefs that underlie abusive behaviors and unhealthy relationships, through a media campaign and support for local prevention initiatives.
“We’re thrilled to be launching a coordinated effort to make Wisconsin a more peaceful state,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin (End Abuse). “Over 700,000 Wisconsin women have been victims of domestic violence, and, while we must ensure that survivors of violence have the services and resources they need to heal and to be safe, we also must devote time and effort to transform the individual beliefs and societal messages that are at the root of violence. Only then will we be moving down a path to ending domestic abuse. We want to stop abuse before it happens. In fact, we want to stop abuse before it ever enters a person’s mind as a possible way of relating to an intimate or dating partner.”
Advocates note that great strides have been made to raise awareness about domestic abuse but that messages that support abuse are still prevalent in the media and in Wisconsin communities. They also say that messages that support healthy relationships based on equality and mutual respect are lacking and can be drowned out by conflicting influences.
“Young people today are exposed to more media and communications than any previous generation,” explained Seger. “As a result, there is a high need for strategic and evidence-informed prevention work.”
Expressing optimism, Seger continued, “But the potential for positive change is greater. Today’s youth are better positioned to create a more peaceful and more just world than those of us who came before them.”
End Abuse will involve a diverse group in the planning process.
“We are currently assembling a project advisory group to bring together educators, advocates and younger folks,” said Seger. “Young people will guide our efforts. We want to communicate in ways that will resonate with the next generation.”
The prevention initiative is supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin is the statewide coalition of local domestic violence service providers. Working on behalf of advocates, survivors and allies, End Abuse is the only statewide coalition led by social policy advocates, lobbyists, attorneys and experts striving to support, connect, equip, empower and lead organizations for the social change to end domestic abuse.