‘See It! Stop It!’ campaign launched

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in drug-facilitated sexual assault, and a local non-profit organization wants to make sure residents of Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties, and the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, are sending a strong message to perpetrators that such violence will not be tolerated in this community.

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Violence Prevention Coalition of Southwest Colorado (VPC) and its partner agencies have launched the “See It! Stop It!” campaign to inform area residents about how they can intervene to prevent drug-facilitated sexual assaults from happening and encourage them to join the effort to create communities free of sexual and domestic violence.

Of sexual assaults occurring on college campuses, alcohol or drugs were used 90 percent of the time (National Collegiate Date and Acquaintance Rape Statistics, 1996). Furthermore, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2007, someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes, and yet sexual assault remains one of the most underreported crimes in the U.S. Despite these alarming numbers, a growing body of research consistently shows family, friends and others often recognize abusive situations and want to intervene, but do not because they don’t know what to say or do. The “See It! Stop It!” campaign is based upon the well documented desire of concerned families and friends to take positive action to intervene to prevent violence in relationships. We believe that everyday actions taken by informed citizens can transform our communities, making them safer for everyone.

Look for “See It! Stop It!” stickers and information in area restaurants, bars, hotels and public buildings and at community festivals and gatherings as the campaign expands throughout the region. The stickers include information about behaviors to look out for that may lead to abuse and how to safely intervene to protect victims.

In addition, the VPC offers training for the staff of area businesses, bars, restaurants, hotels and others on how to intervene effectively to prevent sexual assault and other forms of relationship abuse. Participating businesses will receive “See It! Stop It!” training completion certificates that may be displayed prominently to remind patrons that sexual assault and abuse can happen anywhere in our community and can be diffused by anyone willing to “See It! And Stop It!”

The Violence Prevention Coalition of Southwest Colorado is comprised of over 30 concerned individuals, organizations and public and private agencies who together serve as a collective voice on issues related to domestic and sexual violence in the 6th Judicial District of Colorado, which includes Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties and the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Through collaborative approaches to systems coordination, community education, intervention and prevention initiatives, resource advocacy, offender accountability and intervention, the VPC works toward the elimination of domestic and sexual violence and other forms of relationship violence in our community.