Eau Claire-Based Bolton Refuge House Produces Podcast About Domestic Violence, Related Issues

Danielle Zinsli, photos by Andrea Paulseth

GOOD TO HEAR.
GOOD TO HEAR: Olivia Blaylock, Bolton Refuge House

People don’t generally like to talk about domestic violence and sexual assault, but Olivia Blaylock, a staff member at Bolton Refuge House in Eau Claire, is hoping they’re willing to listen.

That’s the idea behind “Silence No More,” a podcast recently started by Blaylock and Ashley Kanuscak, the Jackson County advocate with Bolton Refuge House. The show aims to bring more awareness to domestic violence, abuse, and the other services provided by the shelter.

“We provide shelter for everyone – it’s not just for females,” Blaylock said. “There’s that stereotype that we’re just for females, but it’s for all people and their kids.”

She said the shelter also runs support groups, provides counselors, and offers services from dog therapy to yoga classes – all free of charge.

Although Blaylock and Kanuscak have no previous podcasting experience outside of being avid listeners, Blaylock said they decided to take a chance in hopes of reaching smaller communities where people are even less likely to come forward about abuse.

After some time researching and learning the equipment, the first episode of “Silence No More” was posted online May 13.

“And it just took off from there,” Blaylock said.

The pair produces two different features: a soon-to-be weekly piece featuring different abuse-related topics that include stories from survivors, and a Tidbit Tuesday segment that offers education on abuse and assault.

Two months and eight episodes into the project, they seem to be getting into a groove. They’ve covered topics ranging from psychological abuse in the LGBTQ community and post-traumatic stress disorder to what kind of red flags to look for in relationships.

Blaylock and Kanuscak often bring in experts to help tell the stories and give insight into domestic violence, but Blaylock said listener suggestions are also appreciated.

“People have called and said ‘Hey, can you do a subject on this because my friend’s dealing with this?’ ” she said, and they’ll do their best to produce an episode relevant to that situation.

Besides those looking to provide feedback, she hopes people will listen to the podcast and feel empowered to tell their own stories.

“I think it would be cool if people could call us and be like ‘We would love to tell our stories’ because it really is therapeutic for people to tell their stories.”

Download episodes of “Silence No More” via your podcast app of choice. Anyone looking for more information on the podcast or who has an idea for an episode can email director@boltonrefuge.org or call (715) 834-9578.

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