Long range plan to decrease domestic abuse in Wisconsin

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 08/27 2014 02:13PM

Updated 08/27 2014 07:04PM

GREEN BAY, WIS. (WFRV) - Startling new numbers reveal 714,000 Wisconsin women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

That is two times the number of women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

"The abuse started 17 years ago" explains Mai Lee, a survivor from Sheboygan.

She is the one in four Wisconsin women who experience domestic violence.

"I still carry the weight. It is slowly lifting. I live with it" she says.

But, not everyone has access to the programs that helped Mai and her children.

Statewide 250 requests for help go unmet every single day because local agencies do not have the resources.

Ways to fix the gap are outlined in the new long range plan for a safe Wisconsin.

"While we are advocating for increased funding in the state we are really advocating in this plan for everybody to recognize this need and contribute to the need of victims locally, regionally and at a state level" explains Sue Sippel with the Manitowoc county Domestic Violence Center.

In addition to outreach and education aimed at children, the plan asks for better legal help for victims.

Wisconsin is one of only four states where funding is not available.

"Victims go to court, they are not represented and end up losing to the abuser when it comes to custody and divorce" Sippel says.

The report also finds a need to address diversity, specifically funding more programs aimed at homosexuals and people with specific cultural needs.

"I was very afraid of the Hmong community" Lee explains. "The status, the reputation. I would be labeled as a divorcee, a rebel".

According to Sippel "We recognize in this plan that people will reach out to people who they identify with, who look like them, think like them and have histories like them".

By connecting with the right advocates victims are able to become survivors.

"I can walk with my head up high now" Lee says with a smile.

If you want to connect with domestic abuse agency in your community click here.

Copyright Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.