Rochester community gathers to fight against domestic violence

(ABC 6 News) – October is domestic violence awareness month, and it’s an issue that has touched so many around the world. Statistics prove about one-third of women worldwide have experienced domestic abuse. That number is believed to be even higher as many cases go unreported. And here in Minnesota just last year 24 people were killed as a result of domestic violence.

In Rochester, the women’s shelter and support center has been helping those impacted by domestic violence for 50 years. Tuesday, the shelter had its annual “Transforming lives” event to raise money and spread awareness.

It was scene of hope and remembrance at Tuesday’s luncheon. Those attending wanting to save and change the lives of those affected by domestic violence.

“I mean this is happening right in our backyard,” said Women’s Shelter and Support Center Board Member Judy Braatz. She says it’s a growing need in our community.

Help for those experiencing domestic violence. And that’s just what the women’s shelter does.

“Our goal at the women’s shelter is to be able to support victims so that they can leave safely and not become somebody on one of our posters,” said Director of Youth with the shelter Jeannie Thompson.

The scores of posters outside Tuesday’s luncheon tell the stories of the lives lost to domestic violence.

“Alberta Sue Nelson, 65, was stabbed and killed by her husband Dale Nelson, 67, who then killed himself in Rochester on September 5th,” said Braatz.

The Transforming Lives luncheon highlighted the need for both funding and volunteers.

“It’s really important that we continue the awareness and letting people know that we are here and offering free support for them,” said Thompson.

Senator Amy Klobuchar sent a special message. And they also heard from survivors of domestic violence, who leaned on the women’s shelter to get them through a dark time.

“We have people that come into our program, and they are barely able to function throughout the course of a day. And in a period of weeks, you them start to bloom and finding some hope and goals that they are setting,” said Thompson.

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