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Domestic abuse continues to rise

The report released in a press conference yesterday was more than a little bit frightening — 34 people in Minnesota died as the result of domestic abuse in 2015, up from the 23 murdered in 2014.
Of those 34 deaths, according to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, 22 were women, three were men and nine were friends or family members who tried to intervene in a domestic situation and lost their lives for trying to save another. Seventeen children were left motherless because of the deaths.
Thirty-four deaths may not seem like much when you compare the statistic to how many Minnesotans die each year of cancer, other diseases and in car accidents.
 But the point is that domestic abuse deaths are on the rise, and not declining. That doesn’t bode well for society.
And the number of deaths is only the most horrific tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t take into account the thousands who suffer mental, emotional and physical abuse.
Despite the efforts by such organizations as the McLeod Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence (MAVDV) to open up dialogue about the serious issue of domestic violence, it still remains very much a taboo subject. Victims are ashamed; witnesses don’t want to get involved. Both are fearful of retritubition and public shame if they speak out.
We don’t have an answer as to how to reverse the trend and start a decline in the number of domestic violence deaths and victims.
But, at the very least, it’s time to start speaking out and standing up. It’s time to stop turning away and taking responsibility.
One of the first steps any of us can take is to get in touch with an organization like MAVDV, whether it’s to volunteer time, services or money or to get help for yourself or a loved one.
Let’s start reversing this horrible trend.