Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


City, county officials rally to end domestic violence

Madison and Dane County officials marched with community members around Capitol Square Monday afternoon to advocate for ending domestic violence.

The Purple Ribbon Walk comes after a murder-suicide on Madison’s west side Saturday.

Salvador Tellez-Giron, 66, hung himself after he beat his wife, Viviana Tellez-Giron, 33, to death, according to the Dane County Coroner’s office.


Participants of the walk carried signs with “Eliminate Violence Against Women” on the front and a name on the back of someone who was the victim of a domestic violence homicide.

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray said the Madison Police Department has seen a number of stranger homicides but investigates several cases involving domestic violence each day.

“What we cannot lose sight of, which is something that happens all too often, are those times when the victim does know the perpetrator,” Wray said.

Shannon Barry, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services executive director, spoke about the services DAIS offers and the shortage of resources they have to work with.

“We offer the only domestic violence shelter for Dane County,” Barry said. “We have 25 beds for women and children. When one considers that approximately one third of all arrests in Dane County are domestic violence related, it’s pretty apparent that 25 beds is sometimes not enough to meet the need.”

Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney said Wisconsin averages more than three domestic violence related homicides each month, and more than 15 percent of the bookings into the Dane County jail in 2007 were related to domestic violence.

Wray said two out of seven homicides in Madison this year involved domestic violence, and the community should focus on the larger picture of identifying and ending the behavior.

“At times, it feels like our community is managing this issue,” Wray said. “Our goal and our focus should be not to manage this but end it.”

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said her 2009 budget includes funding for an additional caseworker at DAIS.

Currently, DAIS has 18 salaried positions and 28 paid hourly workers, Barry said, and they have to be creative with the limited resources they have. DAIS also relies heavily on the more than 100 volunteers the group has, she added.

“Frankly, without our volunteers, we couldn’t do this work,” Barry said. “The volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization.”

Wisconsin has alarming numbers of reported cases of domestic abuse, Falk said, and this number is not an accurate representation of the frequency of domestic abuse because many cases are unreported.

“Think of the number that aren’t reported because women are afraid to do that,” Falk said. “We have this nature, this conspiracy of silence, unless we all speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services and Zonta, an international organization committed to advancing women worldwide, hosted the walk.

Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard stressed the community’s role in ending domestic violence by helping “victims in big ways and small.”

“As a community, when do we start acting?” Blanchard said. “You know the answer. We have to stop it now.”

Blanchard said medical professionals must remember to ask the right questions and employers should give victims time off to seek the necessary help outside of their home.

“We should support [victims] in the choices they make.” Blanchard said. “We have to stop providing excuses for [abusers].”

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