The Winona County MENding Project coordinates broad, community-based pledges of public information about prevention of sexual and domestic violence.  It also encourages traditionally male-run or male oriented businesses to offer pro-bono or discounted goods and services to battered women and sexual assault survivors in order to mend harm done by abusive men.

Winona County men can provide lasting support by acknowledging their commitment to prevent other men’s violence.  The MENding project challenges the cultural norm of silence and male complacency.  It provides men with opportunities to confront other men’s violence and help prevent sexual and domestic abuse in our communities.  It also offers the promise of stopping violence before it starts.  And it provides practical support to survivors.

According to data provided by the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), in 2013, in Winona County:

  • 34 Orders for Protection were requested of the courts
  • 28 Harassment Restraining Orders were requested
  • 490 primary domestic violence survivors were served by the WRC.
  • 107 primary sexual assault survivors were served by the WRC.

28 of these were aged 17 or younger, 79 were 18 years or older.

The cost of sexual violence in Minnesota in 2005 was $8 billion (an average of $184,000 for each sexually assaulted child; $139 for each adult), according to a state Department of Health report.

Prevention of sexual and domestic violence requires changing community norms and the environments that support it.  Leaders, especially men, can influence these changes by stepping up—being upstanders rather than bystanders—to lessen the harm that has been done and to prevent further harm.

The MENding project is developing a community wide network of leaders and businesses that pledge time and resources to prevent violence and provide services after violence has been committed.  This pledge takes the form of public statements and information about prevention that influences public opinion, or promises to provide goods and services to survivors.  Participating leaders or businesses receive a displayable placard which indicates that their leaders care for women and children.

For more information about the Winona County MENding project, call or Joe Morse (507-452-8232).                                                                                                                           4/9/14

 

The MENding Project is a program of the Minnesota Men’s Action Network: Alliance to Prevent Sexual and Domestic Violence.