Grand Rapids
Hibbing Bemidji
Bagley Brainerd


Alex and Brandon Safety Center in BrainerdOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  At KAXE/KBXE we wanted to do more than talk statistics and phone numbers to call in crisis.  We wanted to understand WHY this happens and WHO it happens to and what we as a community can do.  Laura Connelly from Advocates for Family Peace approached us about a partnership in bringing what is invisible to the public.  As she explained it, these violent relationships are designed to be kept silent.  Each week John Bauer and Heidi Holtan recorded conversations with survivors of domestic violence.  To make what was once invisible VISIBLE. 

These survivors are brave to tell their stories.  Some of them are putting themselves at risk again.  We ask you to take the time to listen to them and get involved.

Contact information for area organizations that need help and can give help are on the bottom of this page.  Contact us at 218-999-9876 or by email to let us know what you think of our series. 

Final Summary Invisible by Design :  hear all survivors as well as Laura Connelly from Advocates for Family Peace and Steve Downing's reaction.


Survivor-1 This survivor gives us insight into why it isn't easy to leave a violent relationship.

Survivor-2 This survivor tells the story of mental abuse and describes how her relationship made her almost a hostage for six years under threat of death.

Survivor-3 This survivor heard our series on KAXE/KBXE and felt like he needed to tell his story of growing up with an abusive father. 

Survivor-4 This survivor after 10 years of abuse, got a fresh start on life with her young sons. The abuser eventually took the lives of both boys.

Survivor-5 This survivor received verbal and physical abuse during pregnancy.  After each instance there was remorse and hope that abuser would change.

Steven Downing Steve shared his comments and observation of this program and it's impact on the community.

Recap of interviews A summary of interviews with survivors.

Mid-Minn Women's Shelter Executive Director, Tonya Helt, talks with Heidi and John about domestic abuse and the service they provide in the Brainerd area.

Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety An interview with Andrea Kingbird, Laura Straw, and Heidi Hovis on domestic violence and what services the organization provides.
Advocates for Family Peace Laura Connelly is the director of programs for in Grand Rapids and Hibbing. She discusses domestic violence in Itasca County and the various types of abuse that occur.

Dave of Squaw Lake sent in this comment:

This is such a powerful message that needs to be heard. And there is no better station to take it on, head first. I was on a country road when I heard the first interview - WOW!  I had to pull over to the side of the road and listen to the younger girl tell her story.

That was my story..... as seen through the eyes of a child, growing up - seeing it first hand.  I had to call you after that...It's real and is hidden by design. Kids suffer the same or worse. I lived it over and over into my adult life in my head. Thanks to Laura from Advocates for Peace and to John & Heidi for producing and listening to the very sad stories. They are real !

We had this talkback to our first conversation from Ellen of Grand Rapids:

 While driving to Duluth on Saturday morning, I listened to John and Heidi interview a woman who lived in fear in her own home and in her own skin.  The interview questions opened the door for her to just say it.  She was honest without condemning.  I heard her fear and disbelief around the how did I get into this question that every single person who is honest with themselves will ask themselves at some point in their life.

It takes a lot of courage to talk about domestic violence, let alone leave it.  Fear is a stronger motivator than love sometimes.  When fear is involved, we will not change until our pain is greater than our fear.

I admire her courage and her honesty.  Very, very much.  I respect her brother and sister in law for taking the bull by the horns to make her life and her girls lives better.  They were not complacent with her fear of staying – they knew better.

I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Don Streufert and his lovely wife Mary.  Pathways to Peace and Safety and The Center for Reducing Rural Violence worked with communities to address one issue that was most challenging and difficult to effectively fix. All of the communities with which I was involved chose domestic violence – one community chose gang violence, which by nature is born out of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is complicated.  Most people who live it would rather deal with the physical scars than the emotional scars.  The monster feeds on the humiliation.  The offenders do what they learn it is intergenerational.  They are generally scared little people inside adult bodies facing expectations they cannot possibly meet.  That is complicated.  I am by no means excusing the behavior, it is my opinion.

I have learned is that is not okay to be complacent.  The price is too high. 

BRAVO KAXE for stepping up to the plate and becoming involved in the Invisible By Design monster that plagues humanity.

Keep up the good work.

Additionally, we received these comments on Facebook:

Carrie writes: They have been great to hear, hard to hear, but incredible. It would be interesting to know if any abusers have recognized themselves in these stories. It is very powerful to think that the general public is more aware and thus more proactive when it comes to this issue. Very sad to think about how it impacts families in both visible and invisible ways. Anything anyone can or does can make a difference. Thanks for the series!

Gail writes: This has been an excellent series! The relationships Heidi and John have built during the interviews have brought out the intimate details that make me cry for these women and children

Daniel writes: Very powerful, thanks for putting it on. Most want to avoid difficult issues.

Brian writes: This is a remarkable series! Just riveting...

Brenda writes: This a.m. we only heard parts of it, but what we did hear totally STOPPED us BOTH in our tracks. Wow you guys. REALLY proud of KAXE.


                                        Regional sources for help with domestic violence:

Advocates for Family Peace    Grand Rapids and Hibbing

Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety   Bemidji

Family Safety Network  Walker

Mid Minn Women's Center  Brainerd

Advocates Against Domestic Abuse  Aitkin

Friends Against Abuse  International Falls

Support Within Reach-Sexual Violence Resource Center

Itasca Office                                            Aitkin Office

1325 4th St. NW                                      312 Minnesota Ave. N., Suite 2009

Grand Rapids, MN 55744                   Aitkin, MN 56431

218.326.5008/1.866.747.5008           218.927.6226/1.866.747.5008

Fax: 218.326.1314







Northern Community Radio 800-662-5799
KAXE260 NE 2nd Street • Grand Rapids, Minnesota 55744 • 218-326-1234 • FAX: 218-326-1235
KBXE 305 America Avenue NW • Bemidji, Minnesota 56601 • 218-333-9005
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