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End Domestic Abuse WI In The News

Thursday 08/01/2013


DARLINGTON — Sharon Wand was described by her sister Wednesday as a simple-minded victim of domestic violence whose husband continues to control her from prison.

“Right now, she’s lost,” said Amy Peterson, the younger sister of Wand, 27, who wrote a letter to the Wisconsin State Journal recanting statements that her husband, Armin Wand III, and brother-in-law, Jeremy Wand, set the fire in early September that killed her three young boys and the fetus she was carrying.

Peterson said Wand, who was also badly burned in the fire and is still recovering from her injuries, wrote the letter after visiting her husband in prison about a month ago and then spending about a week living with her husband’s sister, Tammy Wand, in Argyle.

Peterson, who lives in Necedah and talks to her sister almost every day by phone, described her sister as gullible and easily susceptible to manipulation.

She said Sharon Wand told her she visited her husband in prison because she wanted closure. Instead, she said, Armin Wand was “lovey-dovey with her” and used the same controlling techniques he used during their marriage to convince her of his innocence.

“She wanted to believe he didn’t do it when she knows he did,” Peterson said.

Wand’s recantation of her story is not uncommon among victims of domestic violence, according to Tony Gibart, the policy coordinator for End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.

Domestic violence victims go through periods of denial to “escape the trauma they are experiencing and the nightmare they are living,” Gibart said. That also makes Wand more susceptible to manipulation from her husband or his family, Gibart said.

“There are complex and contradictory feelings in this situation that can be manipulated by allies of the abuser,” he added.

Wand briefly left the Lyghthouse, a 16-bed facility near Platteville that helps people with brain injuries and mental health and other behavior problems, to stay with Tammy Wand, Peterson said.

“She wasn’t taking her medicine and she wasn’t talking to her doctors,” Peterson said.

In addition to writing letters to media outlets, Wand wrote several profanity-laden passages in her Facebook page that said her husband and brother-in-law were innocent and proclaimed her love for her husband. She later deleted several of those passages, Peterson said.

Wand’s guardian, Geri McKeon, took her back to the Lyghthouse last week, shortly after Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department detectives inquired about Wand’s Facebook comments, Peterson said.

Wand’s recovery as a victim of domestic violence may take longer than her recovery from her burns, Gibart said. Victims like Wand, “need to be around people who are understanding and accepting, people that don’t belittle or patronize them.

“They need to rebuild that sense of control and empowerment that the abusers take from them, so that healing process will take many years,” he said.

from: Wisconsin State Journal

Tuesday 07/16/2013

A group that tracks domestic violence statistics in Wisconsin, and supports programs for victims, is changing its name.

Officials from the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence announced yesterday that the group will now be End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.

Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Eleanor Anderson says groups like that make it easier to talk about a serious issue.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin says Wisconsin had 464 reported domestic abuse-related homicides between 2000 and 2011.

From: WHBY

Tuesday 07/16/2013

The Violence Intervention Project has placed a lantern outside the main office at 1405 Division St. in Algoma to commemorate victims whom have lost their lives to domestic violence. This was inspired by the tragedy of two lives recently lost to domestic violence in Northeastern Wisconsin.

The lantern will be lit for a period of one week following each domestic violence related homicide that occurs throughout the state of Wisconsin. The Violence Intervention Project will utilize the lantern to create community awareness. Information will be available on Violence Intervention Project’s Facebook page.

A woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States, and domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence collects data pertaining to domestic violence in Wisconsin, and they have reported 464 homicides from 2000 to 2011.

Forty people lost their lives to domestic violence in 2011 alone. Victims ranged in age from infancy to 82 years old. Domestic violence affects people from all religions, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, socioeconomic status and educational backgrounds.

No one is immune to domestic violence, as we have learned from the recent homicide of the interim director of the domestic violence agency in Marinette. Many people find themselves questioning how a domestic violence victim advocate could herself be a victim of domestic violence.

Domestic violence never happens because of something the victim did or didn’t do. Blaming the victim for the violence that was perpetrated against her takes away the responsibility of the offender. The question we should be asking is why do offenders abuse.

Domestic violence is more than a single act of violence; it is a cycle of abuse that repeats itself over a period of time. An abuser uses isolation, emotional abuse, threats, intimidation, economic abuse and children to gain control over their victim, making it increasingly difficult for a victim to end the relationship.

If you are being abused: remember that you are not alone, it is not your fault and help is available. If you are interested in speaking to an advocate or attending a support group, please call the Violence Intervention Project at (920) 487-2111 or our 24-hour Hotline at (920) 837-2424. All services are free and confidential. Find us on Facebook. Please help the Violence Intervention Project shed a light on domestic violence in Wisconsin.

From: Green Bay Press Gazette

Monday 07/22/2013

Earlier this year, the unthinkable happened.

For the first time in almost two decades, the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to expire.

Although VAWA’s funding continues—for now at least—its authorization lapsed in January and is now at the mercy of those in Congress who do not wish to improve its protections for same-sex partners, immigrants and Native American victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.

When VAWA’s reauthorization came up for a vote in April 2012, the Senate passed the expanded version on a broad, bipartisan 68-31 vote. Wisconsin’s then-Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat, supported the bill; Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, voted against it.

But House Republicans took issue with the Senate version’s expanded protections for victims of same-sex partner violence and vulnerable populations, and passed a limited version of the bill. Wisconsin’s congressional delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against it.

The bills died at the end of the last session of Congress.

But Democrats—including Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore—have reintroduced the expanded version of VAWA. On Monday, the Senate voted 85-8 to take up the bill, which it is expected to do later this week.

“VAWA’s authorization expired over a year ago, but its programs and services continue to operate under language last updated in 2005,” Moore wrote in a statement released to the Shepherd. “Still, VAWA’s current form is in serious need of the updates and enhancements suggested by the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy community. Fortunately, the Senate will soon pass this updated Violence Against Women Act. Yet I am concerned about the progress this Act will make in the House. Now is not the time for political posturing. I call on my colleagues in the House to protect all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Women are waiting.”

Tony Gibart of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that while VAWA’s funding will continue for now, its lapsed authorization makes it vulnerable in the long term.

“There isn’t a bright-line deadline but the longer it goes unauthorized, the less stable and certain the appropriations become,” Gibart said.

Since its passage in 1994, VAWA has created a comprehensive effort to protect victims of intimate partner violence and strengthen the criminal justice system’s efforts to prosecute and prevent it.

VAWA funding has trained more than 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges; created a federal rape shield law to protect victims’ privacy; mandated that victims are not forced to pay for rape exams or the service of a protection order; and established the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Since VAWA’s passage, the rate of intimate partner violence has declined 50%, reporting of domestic and sexual violence has increased as much as 50%, and all 50 states have reformed laws relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, according to a fact sheet provided by Moore’s office.

Gibart said VAWA transformed the nation’s awareness of and response to the dangers of intimate partner violence.

“The Violence Against Women Act was a really important, landmark piece of legislation that had ripple effects throughout the country and was a catalyst for action at the state and local levels on this issue,” Gibart said. “It had a lot of indirect positive impacts that you can’t find anywhere in the text of the bill. But historically it was something that got the ball rolling in a positive way.”

From: Shepherd Express