Southeast receives grant to fight relationship violence

By Christy Hendricks
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - One in three women have been sexually victimized, according to a survey by Southeast Missouri State University.
A federal grant will help Southeast team up with the Cape Girardeau police department and other organizations to focus on reducing relationship violence.
The university will expand efforts to educate students and staff about domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Dr. Linda Keena described the "Green Dot" program Wednesday at a press conference about the grant.  The red dots on a map of Cape Girardeau represent crime in the community.  The green dots represent efforts to make Cape safer.
The three-year, nearly $300,000 federal grant to the criminal justice and socialogy department will pay for education, research and service projects to teach students and staff about domestic and relationship violence.  
"That teaches men and women how to intervene safely and effectively in cases of violence before, during and after an incident with strangers, acquantainces, friends," Keena said.
School officials say the south side of Cape sees a steady number of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking cases.
Mayor Jay Knudtson says the city will take a no tolerance approach to this type of crime and wants folks to speak out if they know it's happening.
"We got to break this brotherhood, this code of silence down," Knudtson said.  "We've got to get people, citizens that have bad people making decisions.  We got to get to forget about this no snitch crap.  They got to come clean to the police officers trying to help them."
Police Chief Carl Kinnison says three to four percent of offenders commit 65 to 70 percent of the crimes in town.  He says the remaining percentage of people must join together to fight crime.
"It's a lot of people getting together doing one or two things as opposed to one or two people or agencies trying to tackle such a huge issue," Kinnison said.
Small things that community leaders hope will have a big impact in making cape girareau a safer community.
This grant adds to a nearly $200,000 grant the university received in 2006 to start the VICTORY program which helps students and staff prevent violence and prosecute violators on campus.
The Cape police department hopes to expand the "Green Dot" program to include all crime and not just sexual violence.