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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, local events planned

The statistics are startling.

According to a report funded by the Department of Justice, roughly one in five women who attend college will become the victim of a rape or an attempted rape by the time she graduates.

Nationally, 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape; 93 percent of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 12 percent of youth in state-operated and large locally- or privately-operated juvenile facilities reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or facility staff.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

During the month of April, organizations across Colorado and the nation will join together to promote greater public awareness about sexual assault. This month provides an excellent opportunity for everyone in our community to demonstrate our commitment to ending sexual assault and showing support to numerous survivors.

The Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program will host several events this month to honor survivors, while also working to prevent others from ever becoming victims.

First, Operation Cinderella! On April 7, from 4-7 p.m. at the Pagosa Youth Center, any teen girl attending the prom is invited to our dress give away/exchange. We have over 50 gorgeous dresses to choose from … it’ll be a chiffon frenzy! Girls can also enter to win awesome door prizes, from manicures and pedicures, to professional hair styling to complete their look for prom. Come enjoy some refreshments and find your perfect formal next Wednesday at the Youth Center.

Next, the fourth annual Walk A Mile In Their Shoes. Come out for a quick, refreshing walk while wearing someone else’s shoes. Men will wear women’s shoes. The highest heels win! Women will wear children’s or men’s shoes. Toe crunchers are a must. The walk begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Methodist Thrift Store on Thursday, April 29. Though the walk isn’t quite a mile, the impact goes beyond any distance for a survivor. Come have a good time, get a chuckle from the wide array of shoes, and most importantly, show your support for those who are walking their healing path.

If you could have the opportunity to work on your dreams, improve your relationships, and get paid for doing it, would you? Beginning April 20, a new five-week series of Diamond Standards is being offered for anyone between the ages of 15 and 29. This innovative program gives you skills many others have to struggle to figure out. And you can get them free! Each workshop can gear you towards a happier, more productive future. Earn up to $95 in incentives.

And finally, you can make the difference in a survivor’s life by becoming a victim advocate. Our trained advocates work together with victims to help with their crisis needs, court needs, and healing needs. New advocate training will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings, from 5:30-8 p.m., starting Monday, April 5. Small stipends are offered for weekend and holiday shifts.

Consider supporting survivors and our community during national Sexual Assault Awareness Month by participating in any or all of our events.

For more details, call the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program at 264-9075.