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Harbor House in Appleton urges all to shine a light on domestic abuse

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APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) When you are a victim of domestic abuse finding a path out of danger is not always easy. But as Local 5 found out, on this Domestic Violence Awareness Month, help and hope can be found at a shelter called Harbor House.

Since 1984 Harbor House has been helping victims of domestic abuse move forward – women and men caught in destructive relationships, searching to find a way to safely leave their abuser.

“It’s about one in 4 women, one in 7 men, are going to be in some sort of domestic violence relationship in their life,” said Cassie McDonald from Harbor House.

The organization’s trained advocates provide individual, legal and economic support to help people escape abuse before the violence escalates.

“We know the people we are serving is the tip of the iceberg, so we know there is more violence happening in our community,” said Morgan Kirchenwitz from Harbor House.

According to End Abuse, last year in Wisconsin 72 people lost their lives to domestic violence. Earlier this year in Appleton, Demetrius Williams was arrested for the murder of 3-year-old Zyana Corbin, the daughter of his girlfriend who police say tried to break off the relationship.

“When someone tries to leave a domestic violence situation 80 percent of the time it’s going to get lethal,” McDonald said.

It’s a tragic reality that staff at Harbor House work hard to prevent each and every day.

“Our goal is to really come alongside them and walk with them on their journey, on this path,” Kirchenwitz said.

“We need to make sure we are shining our light on domestic violence and anyone who may be dealing with it or has a loved one dealing with it,” said McDonald.

Because domestic violence thrives on silence and darkness and raising public awareness empowers the abused to seek help.

Harbor House staff say there have been approximately 50 deaths statewide this year attributed to domestic violence.

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