By Donna Thomas

Are you being heard, even as you cry with a whisper or a whimper? Are you afraid to report your sexual or physical abuse for fear of being judged?

Sexual abuse may be categorized as sexual remarks, unwanted touching, rape, or physical harm. Whether you are a child, a teenager, an adult or a senior, male or female, the retort is always “No.” The next step is to report it to someone that can help and guide you to your next step.

Currently the Kewaunee County Law Enforcement uses the Domestic Lethality Screen to assess a victim’s safety and need for further referrals. They need to notify the Violence Intervention Project Hotline If the victim is at a high danger for further abuse. The victim is asked if they want medical treatment.

Once V.I.P. speaks with the victim (male or female), our services are offered. V.I.P. is non-judgmental and will believe your account of events. If it is necessary, for you or your children, to leave your residence, a referral is made to a 24-hour shelter and then our Transitional Living Program. This program is goal oriented.

A mandatory arrest is made if the officer suspects the perpetrator will further abuse the victim. A mandatory arrest is also made if there is physical injury to the victim. Sheriff Matt Joski reviews this policy with all of his officers. He also stresses the need for accurate documentation. He also stresses the need for sensitivity and to be non-judgmental.

Law enforcement and V.I.P. are working in collaboration to better serve our citizens.

No one can make a victim seek help but it is the responsibility of law enforcement and V.I.P. to make the victim aware of services available.

The victim may not seek help immediately for many of their own personal reasons. However, when he or she is ready to Reach Out and make the call to V.I.P at 920-837-2424 we will hear you and believe you, whether it’s a whisper or a whimper.

Donna Thomas is a board member of the Violence Intervention Project.