Turning Pagosa purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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By Cheryl Bowdridge
Special to The PREVIEW

Domestic violence happens, right here in our community.

So what is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? This is the question asked throughout October.

Domestic violence is something that occurs around us every day. Whether you are a victim, a survivor or live a life free of domestic violence, one thing you should know is it happens and you are not alone. Domestic violence does not know race, religion or income levels. It happens every day and it happens to all different people. It is important that we are aware of domestic violence and how we can help.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you probably feel alone and betrayed. How could a world where you are supposed to live at peace and free be so unkind? You are not alone — one in four women will suffer or have suffered some sort of domestic violence in their lifetime; it is understandably so that this number may shock you. And men can be victims, too.

When living with domestic violence, you often feel like you are the only one in the world who is going through this. It is important for you to know you are not alone; there is help and support for you, reach out and take it.

If you are a survivor of domestic violence, you may realize that you are not the only one. Chances are you have been to counseling or therapy, maybe even a support group or two. You understand that you made a choice to be a survivor and either left the relationship or have figured out a way to manage the situation. You are strong and empowered and sharing your story can help a victim.

October is a great time to share and raise awareness around you. The Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program has services for survivors; we realize that being a survivor is a daily choice and your experiences affect you for the rest of your life. We are here to help you as you continue to stand strong.

If you are fortunate enough to be in the category of living a life free of domestic violence, you should be aware that, out of four of your friends, it is likely one of them is in this situation and you may not even realize it.

Domestic violence comes in different levels of control and physical abuse. It happens every day and it happens right here in Archuleta County.

Make October the month you become educated and aware of domestic violence, and the month you reach out and help someone in need. Maybe you have seen some signs or know someone and have been afraid to ask them about it. Domestic violence is not a just a family problem, it is a community problem.

We are turning Pagosa purple. The businesses in town are showing their support for domestic violence awareness month by lighting up their windows with purple luminaries and/or making their displays purple. Purple ribbons will flood the town and you may see purple socks at a home game or two throughout the month of October.

These are statements that Archuleta County supports victims and survivors. This is a small way of showing understanding for those who live with domestic violence. Be educated, be aware and show your support for those around us who live with violence every day.

Join us, the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program, in promoting that all people have the right to live free from violence. Change starts with you. Learn more about what you can do to prevent domestic violence by calling 264-9075 or visiting our website at www.ACVAP.org.