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Raising awareness to domestic violence this month

WoMen’s Rural Advocacy Programs, Inc. (WRAP) 7 full-time staff and a handful of volunteers provided 553 individuals living in or around Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, and Yellow Medicine Counties experiencing domestic violence and/or trafficking with 19,475 free and confidential services during July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic Violence Awareness Month focuses on raising awareness of domestic violence in our local communities. WoMen’s Rural Advocacy Programs, Inc. (WRAP) is a nonprofit that serves victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking in Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, & Yellow Medicine Counties in Minnesota. WRAP provides free and confidential services such as:

• 24-Hour Crisis Line: Access to an Advocate, day or night, to discuss options or be a listening ear

• Safe Housing: Offer and discuss options for short and/or long-term emergency safe-housing

• Emergency Transportation: Provide access to transportation options to ensure safety and security

• Legal and Court Advocacy: Assist with the completion and filing of restraining orders, attend hearings with clients, inform clients about the court/legal process, act as a form of support, and help process the outcome of the hearing afterward

• Safety Planning: Assist with setting up a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after

• Information and Referrals: Connect those with self-identifying needs to resources and support services to help them get through, over or under hurdles they are facing

• Support Group: Support groups are available to those who have experienced abusive relationships. This can be in a group setting or one-on-one

• Community Education: Raising awareness about domestic violence & support services available for individuals and their families

• Systems Coordination: Walking alongside of individuals, helping them to navigate their way through resources /community resources and or the court/criminal justice process

• Referral and Resources for those of Color: Access to culturally specific resources

Many times, people believe that domestic abuse and/or sex trafficking/exploitation does not occur in our small communities. This in fact does occur and many times those close to a victim do not always know this is occurring. Some people only think of abuse as physical, so they do not notice the other forms or signs of abuse.

Domestic Abuse is about the abuser having power and control over the victim or situation. Examples of abuse can include: physical, emotional, financial, litigation, sexual, use of children, and technological, among many other forms. The goal of the abuser is to continue to maintain power and control over the victim or situation.

When victims have access to the resources that agencies such as WRAP provides it allows them to safely leave the situation they are in as well as helps them gain control back over their lives and the decisions they make.

There are many ways community members can help support victim/survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking. Community members can donate money, items (such as personal care items, bedding, furniture, etc.), or volunteer their time with WRAP. In October community members can also take part in the WRAP annual online silent auction.

This year, our online silent auction will take place Oct. 13- 20. This is online at https://www.32auctions.com/BidsAgainstAbuse2022

WRAP will also be hosting a live event the last day of our auction, Oct. 20 from 5-8 p.m. This event is taking place on Purple Thursday, if you come out be sure to wear purple to show your support to victims of domestic violence.

The live event will be at Brau Brothers in Marshall. Those attending will be able to view the baskets and items for sale. We will also have a short program on domestic violence.

Please consider stopping by our live event or checking out our online auction! All funds raised from our auction and this event will be used to support victims of domestic violence and/or sex trafficking/exploitation in our local communities.

A list of what funds may be used for is also on our auction site: https://www.32auctions.com/BidsAgainstAbuse2022

— Becci ten Bensel is executive director for Women’s Rural Advocacy Programs

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