Winona County steps up to counter sexual, domestic violence

In 2010 one in three women reported being victims of battery and 1 in 3 women reported being victims of sexual assault. That’s Minnesota alone. Winona County has been trying to bring that number down for years. Today they talked about their three newest components and reducing the number in Winona County.

Winona County’s Primary Prevention Project: Stop Sexual and Domestic Violence is nearly one of a kind.

“It’s a method of gathering people in the community together. Individuals but also organizations, churches to really look at how we stop the violence, sexual and domestic violence before it starts,” said Joe Morse, chairmen of the Winona County Primary Protection Project.

There are three steps to the new Prevention Project. Winona County is adding curriculum in classes from birth to third grade – in hopes of getting rid of the problem early on. Public awareness, by getting the community involved and Model Workplace policies, which will put prevention methods in the workplace.

“If were going to stop sexual and domestic violence in our communities it takes community action,” said Chuck Derry co-founder of Minnesota’s Mens Action Network.

Winona County is one of the first counties in the nation to have a prevention program.


“Winona County currently has the most sophisticated and established primary prevention committee in the state.With that being true, they’re one of the few communities in the country who are actively working to prevent sexual and domestic violence,” said Derry.

The biggest step, they say, is change.

“Stepping forward and saying what can we do to change the policies in our community and the practices and what people do and what they don’t do,” Morse said.

But the biggest need is support, especially from men.

“We need men, that’s what we talked about today, we need men in our community who are going to step up and say ‘as a man I don’t support this kind of violence and we need to change it because it’s not who we are,'” Morse said.

In an example of their efforts Winona County employees will not stay at a hotel that has on demand pornography. To keep their business a hotel they frequently use changed their on demand policy.