When it comes to domestic violence, there is at least one thing everyone can do. What that one thing is, well, that is up to the individual.

For some it is speaking out – raising awareness letting people know that domestic violence is a significant issue.

One in three women experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime.

Others may lobby policy makers about the need for laws that send a message that in the United States domestic violence is not acceptable at any time, anywhere by anyone. 

A few tell their story, which is what Joan Hicks Boone has done.

Hicks Boone, who grew up in New Brighton in the 1960s, saw firsthand the impact of domestic abuse. As a child, she was raised in a family where domestic abuse was prevalent, as she watched her mother, a victim of abuse by the hands of her father, beaten and belittled.

Hicks Boone, has written a book about that life. The book, which is entitled “The Best Girl,” tells the story from her point of view as a child watching the abuse taking place in her home. Throughout the book, she writes from the perspective of a child who only hopes that if she can be “The Best Girl” that things will change at home.

Hicks Boone talked about her book and the issues of domestic violence recently at the Redwood Falls Public Library, and in addition to reading excerpts from her story she also used the time to raise awareness of the issues that are so much a part of the life of everyone in a home where domestic violence is happening.

“Consider the child,” said Hicks Boone, adding even if a child is not the one who is physically experiencing the violence it is having an impact on them that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Brittany Miller, the WoMen’s Rural Advocacy Program (WRAP) program coordinator in Redwood Falls, works specifically with those who are the victims of domestic violence.

While Miller works on all facets of domestic violence through her role with WRAP, one of the issues she is trying to bring out into the light also has to do with youth.

Nearly 75 percent of parents have never talked to their kids about domestic violence, said Miller.

“Talk to your child,” said Miller. “Have the conversation with them.”

For youth, domestic violence can take various forms whether it is actual physical abuse or it is verbal.

Miller added what is becoming a much more prevalent way that domestic violence is manifesting itself is through social media.

Youth, Miller added, are far more likely to experience this form of abuse than the adults in their lives. Miller said she is available to talk with local groups, whether it be 4-H, Scouts or even sports teams, to provide awareness regarding domestic violence, adding that includes offering information about what local resources are available for them.

Plans are moving forward to start hosting groups for youth, said Miller, adding WRAP is collaboration with other entities to offer a group for girls in the area. The group will focus on awareness of domestic violence but will also address other topics, such as trafficking, said Miller.

Having information becomes empowering, Miller added.

Working with youth is not just about raising awareness but also about helping to break the chain of abuse. Statistics show the single best predictor of someone perpetrating domestic violence is the whether or not they witnessed it in their home.

Children who saw their mother abused are much more likely to become abusers. That is twice as likely to occur among boys.

Redwood County WRAP offers a support group every other Tuesday at 7 p.m., said Miller.

Those who are interested in learning more about domestic abuse, how to get help or what local resources are available are encouraged to contact Miller at (507) 637-3040, or visit www.letswrap.com.

Domestic violence is not just physical

Domestic violence is about establishing power and control and can include the following tactics:

• Intimidation

• Isolation

• Emotional abuse

• Economic abuse

• Sexual abuse

• Using kids

• Coercion

• Threats

• Power

• Privilege

– Courtesy of WRAP