MILWAUKEE - In Milwaukee, domestic violence advocates are working to make sure survivors know about all the resources available. The three-day Love Without Violence Conference kicked off Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Hosted by the Office of Violence Prevention, the goal is to help everyone understand their role in assisting survivors.
When domestic violence turns into murder, the entire community is left with heartache and questions.
"Often, when horrible things happen in our community, community members always ask, ‘What can I do? What is there to do?’" said Mariana Rodriguez, Latina Resource Center - UMOS.
On Wednesday, community leaders joined together through Zoom to start providing answers.
"We welcome you into this space," said Samantha Collier, chairwoman of the City of Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. "We believe you. We need you, and you’re worth it."
Each woman on the call represented a different culturally specific organization that's part of the "We Are Here" initiative.
"When someone has been impacted by some of the horrendous experiences that they could have had in their life, that is where we’re sitting," said Jamie Kellicut, Healing Intergenerational Roots Wellness. "That is what we do."
The group acknowledged there is a lot of work to do. The annual Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report says 68 people died because of domestic violence in 2020; 15 of them in Milwaukee.
So far in 2021, Milwaukee police report 11 domestic violence-related homicides.
"As we all know, during this pandemic, we have seen just an increase in the needs of survivors," said Janan Najeeb, Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition.
The group says something everyone can do is to know where to turn when someone needs help.
"t takes every one of us to do this work," said Kellicut.
Oct. 21 is "Purple Thursday," an opportunity to start a conversation and raise awareness. You are encouraged to wear purple to show support.