Crucial Conversations: Partnering to Spread Awareness About Domestic Violence
Wellpoint Care Network recently partnered with Marcus Theatres for an advanced screening of The Color Purple.
Following one woman’s journey to independence, the film is ultimately a story of resilience. However, throughout the movie, there are scenes of racism, sexism, suffering and domestic violence.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in domestic violence incidents and homicides in Milwaukee since 2017,” said Tristan Gross, Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement at Sojourner Family Peace Center. “Those numbers really ballooned during the pandemic, when survivors weren’t able to get away from their abuser as easily because of having to stay home. As we start to look at the incidents of domestic violence and domestic violence homicides, it is clear to us that there are folks who need our support but are not walking through our doors at 6th and Walnut.”
Gross added that we are “experiencing a domestic violence epidemic in the city of Milwaukee,” which is why he was excited about the opportunity to partner with Wellpoint Care and Marcus for a ‘Night at the Movies,’ featuring The Color Purple to provide information and resources to families in attendance.
“When we start to think about the barriers and obstacles to people reaching out for help, I think it’s important for us to find nontraditional ways to have conversations about what unhealthy relationships look like and how unhealthy relationships make people feel,” said Gross. “The cyclical nature of family violence or intimate partner violence and the impact on children, but also the pathways out of that. While domestic violence is a very serious thing, there are ways that we can integrate ourselves into events like this, where we get to watch a movie together and have a conversation about how to get help.”
At Wellpoint Care, our mission is to help children and families thrive. It’s our belief that as a community, we are better together and have the ability to reach that goal through ongoing collaboration like this.
“To be able to really make an impact on the families and clients we serve, we need to be able to share these community resources,” said Alex Williams, Director of Community Engagement at Wellpoint Care Network. “One of the pillars that we like to lean on is Caring Connections. Being able to lean on our partners in the community who have expertise in areas we don’t is extremely important.”
Through our own model of care, the Seven Essential Ingredients, we know caregiver capacity is vital. In order to effectively work with others, we must also take care of ourselves. Partnering with like-minded organizations in the community is crucial in advancing our mission.
“One of the concerns I often hear from our partner organizations is that they don’t know how to respond to a disclosure of domestic violence or intimate partner violence,” added Gross. “Additionally, we know one in four women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. So, we’re not just talking about the clients that are being served, but we’re also talking about the folks who are helping. How are we taking care of staff who may need to have conversations that trigger them as well? It’s important for us to support our partner organizations by saying, ‘This is what that looks like.’”
Creating these partnerships to provide education to both caregivers and families can have a lasting impact throughout the city.
“Ultimately, the goal is to help as many people as possible,” added Williams. “Having partnerships helps us to expand our continuum of care. Everything we do at Wellpoint Care is about helping children and families thrive, whether we are helping them with problems they are facing or providing resources so they can help themselves.”
“It’s our belief that family violence is the precursor to community violence,” says Gross. “It is usually in the home where violence is introduced and normalized. Without support to young people to mitigate those experiences and exposure to violence, they tend to go out into the community and continue that cycle of violence and begin to cause harm to others.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available.
To learn how Wellpoint Care Network can partner with your organization, please reach out to our Community Engagement team at [email protected].