When Bridget and Michael Michlig decided to open Rouge, a new women’s cosmetics store in Bigfork, they had a motivation aside from simply wanting to run a profitable business. After their daughter Brianna, 15 at the time, was raped at a house party in November 2003, the Michligs knew that their cosmetics store—which had been discussed prior to the rape—would have to give back to the organizations that helped their family through the ordeal. Now, the Michligs will be donating 5 percent of Rouge’s profits to Flathead Domestic Violence Emergency Services, or DOVES, in Polson, and The Abbie in Kalispell. Both organizations offer counseling and support in the wake of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“We are particularly passionate about the issue of rape prevention,” reads part of the Michlig family’s mission statement.
In Lake County, according to DOVES’ Susan Hansen, there have been 435 reported incidents of domestic violence and 45 sex offenses reported to law enforcement so far this year.
Nationally, one out of every six American women has been victimized by attempted rape or rape in their lifetime, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual-assault organization, and only one out of 16 rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
The new store will be located inside The Cherry Tree for now, but Bridget is already scouting for a stand-alone location on Electric Ave. in Bigfork. Bridget, who, like her daughter, was raped as a young woman, says that despite the store’s societal mission, it will not be a “militant outpost” where patrons might be bombarded with anti-rape posters or pamphlets.
“It really is about women enjoying themselves, women celebrating the options open to you when you’re female, and women taking good care of themselves,” she says.
Brianna plans to work at the store after school and on weekends.
Rouge will host its grand opening, complete with makeup artists and a skin care expert on hand, on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 20 and 21.