What is Violence Free Minnesota?
Violence Free Minnesota is a member-based advocacy organization made up of over 90 programs working to end relationship abuse across the state and reservations of Minnesota.
What is a coalition?
A coalition is a group of people or organizations who have joined together to achieve a common goal. Coalitions can be made up of individuals and organizations that seem very different but have committed to work together towards a shared goal. This goal may be to address a specific issue in a particular community or the goal may be to make changes to address a concern on a statewide, national, or international level. Violence Free Minnesota is a coalition of programs across Minnesota working to end relationship abuse while supporting victim/survivors.
Does Violence Free Minnesota provide shelter or services?
No. Please find a local program in your area HERE or call Minnesota's 24-hour hotline at 1.866.223.1111 to connect with an advocate.
What is relationship violence or relationship abuse?
Relationship abuse - also known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence - is when one person in a current or former intimate relationship uses a pattern of behaviors and tactics to gain and maintain power and control over the other person. It is often a cycle that gets worse over time. It is not a one-time ‘incident.’ Abuse is not limited to physical violence. People who abuse use jealousy, social status, mental health, money and other tactics to control and abuse. Physical abuse may or may not be present when someone experiences emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, or another form of abuse. Abuse is not the victim’s fault. There is help.
What is power and control?
"Power and control" refers to a pattern of actions that an individual uses to intentionally control or dominate their intimate partner. A person who chooses to abuse their partner systematically uses tactics such as threats, intimidation, and coercion to instill fear in their partner.
What are some warning signs that someone is experiencing relationship abuse?
Someone who is experiencing relationship abuse may become isolated from their friends and family, and may stop spending time with others or may make frequent excuses for not being able to see their loved ones.
They may seem more withdrawn or depressed, and sometimes may miss work or appointments.
They may blame themselves for their partners' abuse or may appear afraid around their partner, and may make excuses for violence in the relationship. Some victim/survivors may talk of "walking on eggshells" around their partner.
Someone who is experiencing relationship abuse may deny and/or minimize what they are going through, or talk about their partner as if they can do no wrong.
Sometimes, you may notice injuries or bruises, or attempts to cover them.
Their partner may control who they can spend time with, what they can wear, how much money they have and what they spend it on, and may criticize or humiliate them in front of others. When they are with other people, their partner may constantly call or message them.
Who experiences abuse?
Relationship abuse happens to people regardless of race, sex, gender identity, legal status, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Every culture has elements that condone intimate partner violence and elements that resist it.
What does a healthy relationship look like?
A healthy relationship consists of honesty and accountability; respect; trust and support; non-threatening behavior; shared responsibility; negotiation and mutual decision making through conflict; collaborative parenting; and economic transparency. While every relationship involves some level of conflict, in a healthy relationship, both people treat one another with equality and respect and are able to resolve disagreements without manipulation or violence.
How can I support my friend/family member who’s experiencing relationship abuse?
Talk to the person you believe may be being abused. Ask them if they need support and what they would like that support to look like. People who are being abused are in the best position to know what kind of outside support would be helpful and what might be harmful or dangerous. If they don't want to talk to you about what is going on in their relationship right now, by broaching the issue with them you have let them know that you are a person whom they can turn to for support in the future, should they need to. Encouragement and validation can be much more effective than pressuring them to leave. It is also important to recognize that not everyone in an abusive relationship defines success as leaving, and every victim/survivor has different ideas of success and safety.
What can I do if I'm worried my friend/family member is abusive?
Talk to the person you believe may be being abused. Ask them if they need support and what they would like that support to look like. People who are being abused are in the best position to know what kind of outside support would be helpful and what might be harmful or dangerous. If they don't want to talk to you about what is going on in their relationship right now, by broaching the issue with them you have let them know that you are a person whom they can turn to for support in the future, should they need to.
What can I do to be part of the movement to end relationship abuse?
Everyone has a part to play in the movement to end relationship abuse! Check out our Get Involved section and make sure to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to learn more.
I'm working on a school project about relationship abuse and would like to interview someone. Who can I talk to?
We need everyone to do their part to end relationship abuse and are grateful you are interested in shining a light on this topic. You may want to connect with a program working to end relationship abuse in your community HERE. If you are interested in Violence Free Minnesota specifically, please contact Meggie Royer at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be able to assist you.