By Trevor Stone
On Oct. 4 at 10 a.m., Domestic Violence Awareness Month began with a ceremony at the Superior Police Department. Three speakers gave their input to why CASDA (Center Against Sexual/Domestic Abuse Inc.) is so important. This included Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander, CASDA Domestic Abuse Program Coordinator, Carla Pehl, and Douglas County Board Chair Mark Liebaert.
Police Chief Alexander said that the department responded to 602 domestic violence calls throughout the last year. He also said, “Since the year 2000 there have been 5 homicides related to intimate partner violence in our community.” Alexander is aware that some may find this number low, but the number doesn’t shed light on the amount of incidents that are unreported due to the fear of the victim.
Douglas County Board Chair Mark Liebaert is a former police officer. He was in service from the late 1970s to the late ‘80s. It was made clear by him that at the time there were no services like CASDA. Victims were not cared for as much as they should have been. Liebaert shared his personal experiences with some victims. One victim he had on several occasions answered calls from, was found dead at the hand of her abuser. CASDA is the step in the right direction to prevent these things from happening again.
When the presentations subsided, the crowd gathered on the front lawn of the police department. Purple flags were given out to be placed in the grass to show support to fight domestic/sexual abuse. “This evening the courthouse next door will be painted in purple. Not literally – but it will be splashed with purple light for the remainder of the week to help raise community awareness and show support to victims,” said Alexander.
Carla Pehl, the CASDA Domestic Abuse Program Coordinator has been speaking in classes at UWS. She has made it clear that this issue is not going away. From what was 1 in 4 women have been abused at some point in their life, is now getting closer to 1 in 3. There were 602 domestic abuse calls in one year in Superior alone. The majority of the victims of domestic/sexual abuse are college-aged women. Pehl says that everyone should know who CASDA is and what they do. Her goal is to one day is to not need something like this anymore. Her goal is to defeat domestic abuse.
CASDA is celebrating 28 years of service in 2016. Its mission “is to provide supportive services to individuals hurt by domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse as we advocate for a community effort to end violence.” The goals to rid society of domestic/sexual violence are long-term, but CASDA is an option that has made so much difference.
If you or anybody you know is in need of support from domestic/sexual violence, you can find help at CASDA’s 24-Hour Help Line: 1-800-649-2921 or 715-392-3136.