2018-10-11 / Front Page

Little decrease in domestic violence in Huron County, detective says

SafePlace holds candlelight vigil to raise awareness
By Ben Muir


(L-r) Linda Rhoades, Dian McConnel, Kimberly Arndt and Dawn Gerstenschlager at a candlelight vigil Tuesday in Bad Axe that raised awareness of domestic violence. 
Photo by Ben Muir (L-r) Linda Rhoades, Dian McConnel, Kimberly Arndt and Dawn Gerstenschlager at a candlelight vigil Tuesday in Bad Axe that raised awareness of domestic violence. Photo by Ben Muir BAD AXE - About 20 people attended a candlelight vigil on Tuesday to raise awareness of domestic violence in Huron County.

At around 6:15 p.m., Commissioner John Bodis proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Huron County.

Circled around a fountain in the Jim Hicks Veterans Memorial in Bad Axe, women and men listened as speakers talked about the effect of domestic violence.

M.J. Story, operations manager with Huron County SafePlace, which hosted the event, started by saying her organization, along with the Huron County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, has since 2005 served nearly 15,000 nights of shelter to those who have felt the effect of domestic abuse.

“As I speak to you tonight, thousands remain silent,” Story said. “It is part of my job to bring this issue out from the veils of secrecy and shadows - together our voices are louder and stronger.”

Det. Sgt. Kevin Knoblock with the Bad Axe Police Department spoke at the event. He said there hasn’t been a drastic decrease in domestic violence in Huron County in recent years, according to records from the sheriff’s office and his department.

“It hasn’t had a stipend,” Knoblock said. “But it also hasn’t had a decrease.”

Knoblock read from a list of statistics: every nine seconds a woman is assaulted in the United States; studies suggest 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually; and more than three women in the U.S. are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands every day.

“I thought that was an astonishing statistic,” he said.

Organizations like SafePlace are vital to combating domestic violence, Knoblock said, adding that there needs to be a collaborative effort from law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, counselors and rehabilitative programs.

“Prosecutors and courts are taking domestic violence cases very seriously,” Knoblock said. “And offenders are being sentenced to lengthy jail sentences, and, in some cases, prison sentences are imposed for repeat offenders.”

Knoblock associated domestic violence with a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that children who grow up in an abusive environment are more likely to continue the same behavior into adulthood – whether that behavior is physical or emotional abuse, which can undermine a partner’s self-worth and have the same impact as physical violence, Knoblock said.

“How do we change this?” Knoblock asked. “’There’s no excuse for domestic violence.’ That message needs to start in our schools, with our younger generation. We need to educate them on respecting others along with themselves.”

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