In 2020, 12 of the 32 total homicides in the state last year were the result of domestic violence, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Abuse isn’t always physical; mental and emotional abuse also happens more than people may know.
Signs of abuse can range from bruises to belittling the person to even controlling what they do.
“Having a partner humiliate another partner in front of people or withholding transportation or medical attention, expecting one person to drop everything at the request of another partner,” Tara Bjornson, Assistant Director at the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, said.
Bjornson said abuse is a continuous thing and needs to be talked about more for more people to feel comfortable coming forward. She said it’s important for family and friends to just listen and not judge.
“Individuals who are abused are often told nobody will believe you, nobody wants you, everybody thinks you’re crazy and we have to get past that. We have to start believing people when they say this isn’t OK,” Bjornson said.
The center has many resources available for victims of abuse to help make the first step of leaving the abuser a little bit easier.
“If there is physical violence, even the stalking and harassments we can help with a protection order,” Bjornson said. “So some of the court advocacy, we’re not attorneys so we can’t represent anybody in court but we can help just get that protection order in place. And we have some support groups.”
All services provided are free and confidential. Bjornson wants to let all victims know they are not alone in these situations.
“That feeling of alone, that they are all alone or they’re by themselves going through this and they’re not,” Bjornson said. “There are people out there that want to help and that are willing to listen. And it is OK to leave a relationship that is not good for you or your kids.”
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship you can call the 24/7 crisis hotline at 701-857-2500. For more information on what the Domestic Violence Crisis Center provides, you can visit their website.