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“If you see something that causes you concern, approach the person directly,” Olson said. “I’ve had numerous occasions where a woman in an extremely abusive relationship got help and the abuse stopped, all because an officer asked the questions.”
Sometimes, women ask themselves the question. About seven years ago, he spoke to a group of Eden Prairie chaplains, challenging them to deliver a sermon on domestic violence. Three months later, Olson was called to a home for a domestic disturbance. As he and the woman, in her 30s, sat in her living room, she told Olson that she’d been to church and her pastor had talked about domestic violence.
“Was he talking about me?” she wondered. Because of his words, she reached out or help, and got it.
Chuck Derry, director of the Gender Violence Institute in Clearwater, Minn., commends the initiative and hopes it’s not just women who ask to help.
“It is a minority of men who are doing the abuse, but men who batter rely on the silence of other men,” Derry said. “That’s a big message for me. We’re working with men, encouraging men, and they’re slowly stepping up. This is not an individual problem.
“Three women in the last five months is a community problem. ”