Unfortunately statistics don't lie, and equally sad is the fact that the numbers don't change much from year-to-year. The stories they tell are unrelentingly sad in relation to domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Every nine seconds in our country a woman is assaulted or beaten. Well over half of them never seek out help. The most innocent victims, up to 10 million children, witness some form of domestic violence every year.

When I was a child, I was one of them.

Being a member of a tragically dysfunctional family is nothing new, now. But when I was a kid, you felt very isolated, embarrassed and fearful. It wasn't something that most people discussed openly, as it was said, "in polite company".

Even now this subject matter is very uncomfortable for most people to address, but at least they do. And the number of resources for education and help have grown exponentially.

The Compass Center is one of those places. Founded in the 1970s. their mission has always been to help break the cycle of sexual and domestic violence. Every year they help thousands of individuals through counseling, education, and outreach programs provided at no cost.

There are many ways you can support the work of The Compass Center. One of the most fun is coming up on Tuesday, February 6, when the 9th Annual "It's In the Bag" Fundraiser kicks off at 5:00 PM at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

You'll have a chance to bid on one-of-a-kind, vintage and designer handbags, as well as on sports, entertainment, pampering and recreational packages for men and women. You can also purchase fun grab bags.

There will be delicious appetizers, a cash bar and an inspirational presentation by featured speaker, Matthew Sandusky. He is the Executive Director of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, and a childhood sexual abuse survivor, at the hands of his adopted father Jerry Sandusky.

The "It's in the Bag" event is the largest fundraiser for The Compass Center which provided help free of charge to 627 survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence in just the last year alone.

Tickets are available online and at the door for $50 per ticket. For more information call 605-339-0116. Follow The Compass Center on Facebook and online.

Sources: The Compass CenterThe Centers for Disease Control/National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence/South Dakota statistics 

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