By Cheryl Bowdrdige
Special to The PREVIEW
Domestic violence is a subject that many people would rather not talk about. It is a subject that we like to avoid, and many pretend that it does not happen around them.
If you think about it, I am sure that someone you know, or perhaps even you, has been affected by some type of domestic violence, whether it is a form of physical or verbal abuse, control or witnessed domestic violence as a child.
Domestic violence affects one in three women and one in 18 men in their lifetimes. About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are assaulted each year by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend (National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey.” July 2000.).
Girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rates of domestic violence (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-1999.” October 2001.). A woman is more likely to be injured, raped or killed by a current or former partner than by any other person (World Health Organization, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, “Violence Against Women: A Priority Health Issue.” July 1997.).
This October, Rise Above Violence will raise awareness through several events and activities throughout the month. You will see the community start to turn purple the next couple of weeks as purple ribbons will appear throughout town. Sports teams will don purple socks and windows will take on a new hue. Keep an eye out as windows of local businesses will display domestic violence statistics beginning Oct. 10.
The county commissioners and Pagosa Springs Town Council will sign proclamations declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs.
On Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center, all are invited to attend the nationally renowned Jana’s Campaign, coming to deliver its inspiring message of ways communities can work together to end relationship violence. They will also work with the high school on teen dating violence and the importance of talking to youth about healthy relationships.
The clothesline project created by previous victim and survivors of domestic violence and youth of Pagosa Springs High School will be on display from Oct. 1-13 at Ruby Sisson Library and then will move to Town Hall Oct. 13-25. Your last chance to see this display of shirts will be at the Art Above Violence Art Show.
Local artists will interpret stories of domestic violence into beautiful artwork on Oct. 27 at the Center for the Arts. Visit our website at www.riseaboveviolence.org for more information.
Whether you attend events or visit our displays this October, our hope is that you will be moved in some way to help end violence in our community.
Rise Above Violence serves over 300 victims per year. We are a local nonprofit organization working to end violence in our homes, schools and community. If you or someone you know needs help, call our confidential hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 264-9075. Volunteers are always needed and welcomed.
By Cheryl Bowdrdige