Vigil held for victims of domestic violence

Supporters, clients gather at Safe Haven for ceremony
By: 

Leader Staff


Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Staff, volunteers and supporters gather Thursday for a candlelight vigil at the Safe Haven Domestic Abuse Shelter in Shawano in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

It’s an observance they would rather not have to hold, but staff, volunteers, clients and supporters of Safe Haven Domestic Abuse Center gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday to remember the victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The vigil, held for the 11th time at the Shawano shelter, commemorated Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Executive Director Stacey Cicero outlined a revised mission statement, which puts increased emphasis on assisting victims of sexual assault.

“There is a major connection between domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Shelby Mitchell, sexual assault victim advocate.

Mitchell said victims are also facing new forms of sexual harassment, including sexting.

“It takes sexual harassment to a whole new level,” she said.

Mitchell thanked Shawano County officials for making the use of technology for harassment an ordinance that could be punished locally.

Some of the new offerings at the shelter highlighted Thursday include a support group for women 45 and older and a partnership with the Maehnowesekiyah Wellness Center in Keshena that will provide for sexual assault nurse examiners on call 24 hours a day.

“Many exciting things are in store for Safe Haven,” Cicero said.

Kandi Krueger joined Safe Haven in May as the new children’s advocate. Krueger is partnering with a group of students at the high school.

The group, Fighting Against Abusive Relationships, will make a presentation at the statewide Teen Dating Violence Summit later this year.

There are also some physical changes, including a new backyard playset courtesy of the Egan Family foundation and support from the Optimist Club; a bathroom that will be constructed in the lower level; and an upcoming upgrade of the shelter’s website.

Cicero opened the vigil with a proclamation issued by Mayor Lorna Marquardt observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month and calling on the community to come together to help put an end to domestic violence and sexual assault.

“We’re very grateful to have the support of the city of Shawano and the community in general,” Cicero said. “Without everyone’s support we would not be able to provide the quality of services that we do.”