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‘We want purple everywhere’: Tri-County Council wants to send clear message during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Katie Thoresen
A purple ribbon wrapped around a tree outside the Oneida County Courthouse in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The 17 purple ribbons wrapped around the trees at the Oneida County Courthouse aren’t enough for Vicki.

“We want purple everywhere. We want bows on trees, lights on porches. However the community can decorate purple, we want to see purple,” she said.

Vicki is the Domestic Violence Program Coordinator for Tri-County Council.

The organization provides support for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Oneida, Vilas, and Forest Counties.

Purple Ribbons 3.jpg
Katie Thoresen

The color purple is meant to signify the struggles victims of domestic violence go through.

Every year, Tri-County Council does ribbons, awareness, and events throughout October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This year, the realities of domestic violence are even more apparent in the Rhinelander community.

Hannah Miller was shot and killed outside of Rhinelander in a case that Tri-County Council says is domestic violence homicide.

“It is important every year to raise awareness for domestic violence, this year it is extra important because of the Hannah Miller murder. That was a domestic violence homicide,” said Vicki.

The 26-year-old woman was shot and killed just outside of Rhinelander in June. Police believe Christopher Anderson, the man Miller shared a child with, is the one who killed her.

Anderson is still Illinois where he was arrested. The Oneida County District Attorney’s Office says it’s still going through the extradition process to bring him back here for prosecution.

Vicki said Miller isn’t the only victim in this crime.

“I would really love to see people reach out to Tri-County Council. The Hannah Miller homicide, her friends, her family, her loved ones, they are secondary victims. We can help them if they reach out to us,” she said.

Unfortunately, deaths as a result of domestic violence are not rare.

In 2020, 68 people died due to domestic violence in Wisconsin.

Vicki hopes that when people see the purple ribbons throughout town, they’ll take a moment to realize the impact domestic violence has on their community.

“I want them to be aware of domestic violence. I want them to know that it happens in our community, it happens in our backyard. It happens everywhere. We as a community need to be ready to listen to support victims of domestic violence,” said Vicki.

Tri-County Council has purple ribbons available for any people or business that wishes to put one up. You can call the main office for information, 715-362-6841.

If you need help you can call the 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-800-236-1222.

Purple Ribbons 4.jpg
Katie Thoresen
Vicki walks across the Oneida County Courthouse lawn with a bundle of ribbons to hang on trees in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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