October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Katy DanielsFeatured, Mission Weekly

We Remember

Fourteen Minnesotans lost their lives last year due to domestic violence. 

This October, we pause to remember them.

Begun in 1981 as a ‘Day of Unity’, October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Across the nation, communities will gather to remember and honor the women, men, and children who have lost their lives at the hands of a person who was supposed to have loved them. Shelters and local programs will raise awareness about the crime of domestic assault in their communities, and state and local governments will recognize our collective efforts to end intimate partner violence.

Each year, Missions Inc. Programs’ Home Free Shelter and Community Program lead and participate in DVAM activities. This year, we will remember those fourteen Minnesotans who lost their lives, – and the thousands of women, men, and children who have been affected by domestic violence annually – by holding a short vigil on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, beginning at 3:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend (for more information, please call Katy at 763.334.7903). 

Additionally, if you drive by our Plymouth campus, you may also notice we have changed some of our external lighting to purple, and we will soon be erecting lawn signs – fourteen of them – to honor the fourteen lives lost. 

The Need for Safety

While efforts to increase community awareness about domestic violence and our coordinated work with criminal justice and other systems has had a significant impact on increasing safety for women and families, there still exists a critical need for safe shelter and legal advocacy. 

  • On average, 24 Americans per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner[1]
  • One in four women and one in seven men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime[2]
  • Home Free Shelter and Community Program provide shelter and/or legal advocacy to nearly 1,200 individuals experiencing domestic violence annually. 
  • Since opening its doors in 1980, Home Free shelter has consistently operated at over 100% of its 30-bed occupancy, and has a turn away rate exceeding 50%. 

What can you do?

Please join us in raising awareness about domestic violence by: 

  1. Hosting a speaker from Home Free at your place of work, worship, school or social/civic group – please call Kari Hitchcock at 763.559.9008 for more information or to schedule a speaker
  2. Change your porch light to purple – you can find purple light bulbs at your local hardware store, big box store, or online retailer
  3. Attend a vigil or other domestic violence awareness-raising event near you. For statewide information please visit Violence Free Minnesota (formerly Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women) and for nationwide information, please go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 
  4. Make a donation to Home Free. Every dollar you donate helps us to provide immediate safety, support, and information to families fleeing a violent home. We cannot do this work without you. 

And please, we still need you to write or call your U.S. Senator and urge them to finally pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This funding is critical in our efforts to keep families safe and in supporting our work towards ending intimate partner violence. 

“We are in gratitude for the tireless efforts of those who, for the past five decades, have worked to end domestic violence in our communities.

And, we thank all of you who have supported those efforts.” 

-The team at Home Free



Katy Daniels is the associate director for Missions Inc. Programs