Recently there has been increased media attention on the issue of domestic violence. Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice was caught by a security camera knocking his then-fiancé unconscious. Other NFL cases making the news lately include Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson indicted for child abuse and Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy and New York Jets’ Quincy Enunwa arrested for domestic violence.
As the local domestic violence and sexual assault center, Hope House knows all too well that domestic violence happens year round, and it happens in our communities. From October 2013 to September 2014, we provided support and resources during over 3,800 calls to our helpline. Individuals and families stayed in our shelter for 5,332 nights. We provided counseling and advocacy to 1,141 survivors of domestic violence, and just this year, we’ve helped 421 survivors of sexual assault. We know many more survivors are suffering in silence.
The benefit of the NFL cases in the national spotlight is that more people are talking about domestic violence. NFL players themselves are speaking out. Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews spoke at a news conference on preventing domestic violence, and Jordy Nelson has been featured in a domestic violence PSA. Pittsburgh Steelers’ William Gay shared his story of his stepdad killing his mom. Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson introduced the “Pass the Peace” campaign to raise funds for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Before the Ravens-Steelers game, CBS Sportscaster James Brown gave a speech on men getting involved with preventing domestic violence.
Others are speaking out on social media. After people questioned why Janay married Ray Rice after the assault, many survivors came forward with their stories on Twitter with #WhyIStayed. Survivors shared the many barriers that kept them in abusive relationships, including lack of finances, fear their kids will get hurt or taken away, lack of support from others, being told it’s a sin to leave, loving the partner and believing they will change, and fear they will get hurt worse or killed.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin recently released their 2013 homicide report. They found that 55 people in Wisconsin were killed as a result of domestic violence. Many of these cases were when the victim was leaving or left the relationship. Thus we know that leaving is a dangerous time, which is why safety planning is such a big part of what Hope House offers to survivors.
Another Hope House service is presentations to children and teens. From October 2013 to September 2014, we gave 347 presentations to youth on topics related to healthy and abusive relationships. Since the start of this school year, several students have brought up the Ray Rice case. We need to utilize this teachable moment. We need to role model and educate youth on their rights and responsibilities for respectful, trusting, and supportive relationships.
If you would like resources for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please check out our new website: www.HopeHouseSCW.org. If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced abuse, please call our 24-hour helpline at 1-800-584-6790.
Jess Kaehny, Community Education Coordinator, Hope House of South Central Wisconsin
I wish to thank everyone who participated in the Purple Purse Challenge* to benefit Hope House of South Central Wisconsin. Hope House was one of 146 organizations across the nation selected for the challenge, which was sponsored by The Allstate Foundation. The Purple Purse Challenge makes it fashionable for everyone to talk about domestic violence and particularly the financial abuse that keeps people trapped in abusive relationships.
Our thanks to Baraboo Mayor Mike Palm for endorsing the challenge and helping us win an extra cash bonus from The Allstate Foundation for adding his video to our Purple Purse Challenge website. We are so grateful to the hundreds of individuals, families, businesses, groups and communities of faith who together raised $41,491 for Hope House!
It was a competitive and exciting challenge. Our supporters kept us in one of the top 12 spots on the national leaderboard throughout the entire 5 weeks of the challenge. In the final hours of the competition, knowing that those who finished in the top 10 places would win between $10,000 and $100,000 from The Allstate Foundation, our supporters rallied and encouraged others to support our cause. In the last two minutes, we dropped to 11th place, which was only $597 behind the 10th place, but $14,656 ahead of the agency in 12th place.
Even though we just missed winning the big challenge, we did win a few small challenges throughout the competition. The $41,491 raised by community members and the $2,150 from The Allstate Foundation will support critical services for individuals and families in our area and will help us work towards eliminating violence through awareness and education in our schools and our communities. Together we are making a difference. Together we are saving lives.
Ellen Allen, Executive Director, Hope House of South Central Wisconsin
*To see our Purple Purse page, please click here. To see how we did compared to the other organizations, please click here to see the leader board. To see how community members supported us during the challenge, please scroll through our Facebook page.
"Nicholas Tuinstra was overheard on the phone threatening to kill someone less than three weeks before his estranged wife and her new boyfriend were fatally shot in the Town of Berlin on Saturday, according to a criminal complaint charging Tuinstra with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
The criminal complaint issued Thursday says that around the time his wife, Melissa Tuinstra, moved out of their house last month, a neighbor heard Nicholas Tuinstra say: 'If I find you, I'm going to (expletive) kill you.'
Another neighbor told police Nicholas Tuinstra, 33, was suicidal and had said his wife's new boyfriend, Justin M. Daniels, 'should do him a favor and kill him.'
The homicides occurred two days after Melissa and Nicholas Tuinstra filed for divorce. Both victims were 28 and died from multiple gunshots, all of which were fired from behind.
Melissa's body was found on the sidewalk outside her new apartment in the 200 block of Broadway St. Her boyfriend's body was found inside, lying in the doorway between the apartment and the hall.
A landlord told investigators the Tuinstras' 8-year-old daughter lived at the apartment, prompting law enforcement to issue an Amber Alert early Sunday. The girl was found unharmed and with her father in northeast Marquette County later that day.
The girl was with her paternal grandparents the night her mother was killed, police said.
Police initially questioned Nicholas Tuinstra on Sunday. At that time, he denied going to the apartment the previous evening.
'Tuinstra said he took some sleeping pills, fell asleep, and had a bad dream,' the complaint says. 'He said he was worried for Melissa and called her because he saw something bad, like a ruckus, happen to her in the dream.'
After making that statement, Tuinstra was released from police custody.
On Tuesday, he spoke with investigators again. This time, he told them he walked the eight blocks from his house to the apartment, entered the back door and walked up the back stairs.
He and Melissa were talking in the hallway when 'he heard something that he thought was a gun being cocked from inside the apartment, and Nicholas said he didn't know what Justin was capable of,' the complaint says.
While searching Nicholas Tuinstra's house, police found an empty box for a Beretta 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Shell casings from the same type of weapon were found at the homicide scene.
Nicholas Tuinstra told police he had gotten the gun for Melissa, who was afraid to be alone when Daniels worked late.
Police have not found the gun, the complaint says. Along with the empty box, two handguns and a rifle were found at Nicholas Tuinstra's home.
The charges against Tuinstra come just days after the advocacy group End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin issued its annual report detailing the 39 victims of fatal domestic violence in the state in 2013. That year, firearms were used in 51% of Wisconsin's domestic violence homicides."
Read the full article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Melissa Jane Tuinstra, age 28, of Berlin, died on Sunday, September 28, 2014.
She was born October 17, 1985 in Appleton. Melissa was a Nurse's Aide at Brown-Wilcox Retirement Home and was looking forward to starting a new life in nursing. She was a member of St. John Lutheran Church.
She is survived by her husband, Nicholas Tuinstra; daughter, Ralene Tuinstra; mother, Ronda Langer; brother, David Royston; sister, Jessica Georgeson; grandmother, Raona O'Kon; uncle, Richard (Karrie) O'Kon; and many other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her 'Dad', Robert Georgeson...Online condolences may be sent to the family at email@example.com." Read more here.
Justin Michael Daniels, age 28, of Berlin, died tragically on Sunday, September 28, 2014.
He was born May 13, 1986 in Berlin. Justin was a construction worker and treasured spending time with his nieces and nephews. He loved fishing, swimming, camping and being outdoors. Justin was a very giving person who would do anything for his family without ever wanting to ask for anything back from them. He enjoyed making people smile.
He is survived by his mother and father, Terry (Dan) Gallego and Ronald Daniels; four brothers and sisters, Jamie Daniels, Tiffany (Mike) Birkrem, Trisha Daniels (Eli Wessel) and Joshua Daniels; uncle, Scott Schrock; and special friends, Dennis Clark and Josh Niles. Justin will be missed by loved ones Michael Thorson, Stacy Schrock and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by grandparents, Leonard and Saima Schrock and Kenneth Daniels.
Funeral services will be held Friday, October 3, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Barbola Funeral Chapel in Berlin, the Rev. Laura Hawkins officiating. Interment will be in Foster Road Cemetery. Friends and relatives may call on Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Barbola Funeral Chapel.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org." Read more here.