Symbol of strength unveiled in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, city and county leaders joined survivors to unveil a symbol of strength.

Read back through English translation, Matilde told an assembled crowd of crisis workers and advocates of abuse by her father and then later, her own partner.

“He would constantly ridicule me, telling me I looked awful,” she shared through a translator. ”He made me feel like a cockroach, he told me nobody would ever love me except him.”

Matilde is one of the thousands of women helped each year by the program in a nondescript building, which houses the St. Paul and Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project.

“You all are casting that bright light of hope for people in a dark moment in their lives,” said Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier.

Law enforcement and city leaders honored the program’s work with a ceremony Wednesday morning.

“Every year in October, I’m always reminded that we have this very strong and vibrant community,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

At the ceremony, they unveiled a mosaic of a tree made at the hands of victims, volunteers, advocates and investigators over the course of a year and a half. The artwork, which now stretches across a side of the building, represents all the components needed to end domestic violence for good.

“It represents the spirit of what all of us do,” said Shelley Cline, St. Paul and Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project executive director. “There’s a wave of change coming and it was led by women and it’s joined by men and there’s going to be change. We have a long way to go and we certainly need more support for services, but we are making a dent, these women that we serve, they’re amazing.”