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Domestic abuse fundraiser planned
In Woodman
Donate to a Cause

WOODMAN - It’s been six years since James Rotzoll lost his niece, Rachael Ann Pauls, who was beaten to death near Muscoda by her boyfriend, Andrew Weeden.

“My sister, she’s still healing,” he said. “For two years I called and texted her every day. She used to say, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this.’ All I could think of was that song, ‘Lean on me when you’re not strong.’” When it came time for the courtroom victim impact statement, Rotzoll stood in for the family. The judge sentenced Weeden to 30 years in prison, the maximum sentence.

But Pauls was neither the first nor the last woman in Rotzoll’s life who died a victim of domestic violence. Rotzoll grew up in Muscoda and lives in Woodman, and he has accumulated many friends during his life here. Among them he counts Terri Lathrop (Jacobus), Justina Ann Reynolds (Brownlee), Angela Friederick (Gabel), and Lee Ann Arbegust (Pirus). Like Pauls, all four women had ties to the area, and all four were killed by an intimate partner.

Rotzoll is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday Oct. 22, from noon to dusk, in Woodman Park to raise money for victims of domestic violence. He plans to roast two hogs and take donations which he will split between a domestic violence organization, and the Boscobel food pantry and free clinic.

Prevalent problem

Domestic violence accounts for 21 percent of all violent crime; 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience physical violence from an intimate partner, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

When it comes to homicides, the numbers are even more extreme. About 40 percent of all female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner, according to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

A more detailed study by the Violence Policy Center found that in 2020, “for homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 89 percent of female victims were murdered by someone they knew.” The same study ranked Wisconsin as have the eighth-worst rate of female homicide victims. In 2021, there were 65 domestic violence homicides in the state, according to the Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report.

Raising awareness

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, giving activists and advocates a chance to bring the problem to light.

For Rotzoll, it’s good timing for his wish to honor his friends and raise money for the cause.

“I just want to make a difference,” he said. “It’s horrible that people’s lives are snuffed out like that. I like to be part of the solution. I’m just trying to make the world a better place.”

Most women in abusive relationships try to leave and doing so can put them in danger. If you or someone you know needs help, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline provides 24/7 assistance from trained advocates who can give support, information, and referrals in more than 200 languages. 800-799-7233. @font-face {font-family:Arial; panose-1:2 11 6 4 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536859905 -1073711037 9 0 511 0;}@font-face {font-family:Times; panose-1:2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;}@font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;}@font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝";}.MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝";}div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;}