Editorial: Speak up against domestic violence throughout the Albert Lea community

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 3, 2019

Nine seconds.

That’s how often a woman in the United States is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The department estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year.

Email newsletter signup

As sobering as these statistics are, we hope that this month, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we can bring attention to this issue and to encourage people to stand up against it not only nationwide, but as a community.

The Minnesota Department of Health classifies intimate partner violence as physical or sexual violence, stalking or psychological aggression by a current or former intimate partner. This type of violence often incorporates many different tactics and may escalate over time or go in cycles, the department states.

Albert Lea is not immune.

So far this year alone, the Albert Lea Police Department has responded to 242 domestic violence calls for service, said Albert Lea Public Safety Director J.D. Carlson. These calls are varied and could have been reported by the victim, friends or family, neighbors or even passersby. Some were validated, some weren’t.

These calls resulted in 35 arrests — 22 were classified as physical domestics and 13 of those were domestics by fear, Carlson said. He noted that domestic violence is the city’s most common violent crime.

In addition, there have been 15 arrests for violations of orders for protection in the city so far this year. An order for protection is an order signed by a judge to help protect a person from domestic abuse. It orders the abuser not to contact, harm or threaten the petitioner, his or her children or other people as approved by the judge, according to the Minnesota Judicial Branch website.

While these are the number of cases that have been reported, there are many cases locally and nationally that go unreported each year.

Considering numbers from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence that one in three women in the U.S. has experienced some sort of physical violence by an intimate partner, it is likely most people either know or have experienced themselves some type of domestic violence.

For this reason and others, we encourage people to not be afraid of contacting authorities if they see something that doesn’t feel right. If you know someone in a domestic violence situation, offer them support and encourage them to seek help.

It could be the difference between life and death.