By Cheryl Bowdridge
Special to The PREVIEW
Perhaps you have been wondering what all the purple ribbons around town are or why the businesses have purple writing on their windows. Why are there T-shirts hanging in the library and why is there an Art Above Violence Art Show happening on Oct. 27?
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Rise Above Violence has partnered with local businesses, the Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County to help raise awareness for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
Did you know that one in four women and one in seven men will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime? Did you also know that nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S.? That is more than 10 million women and men per year.
Do these facts frighten you or make you feel a little uneasy? If your answer is yes, but you don’t know what you can do about it, then you can start by acknowledging that these facts happen and you, too, can help to raise awareness about abusive relationships. Human nature is for us to pretend that it doesn’t happen in our community and that it doesn’t happen to people we know. So, it is important that we know red-flag warning signs of abuse and what to do if we recognize that it is happening.
Does your partner:
• Expect you to spend all of your time with him/her or to “check in” with and let them know where you are?
• Act extremely jealous and/or possessive of you?
• Isolate you by controlling where you go, who you see and talk to, what you wear?
• Treat you with disrespect and put you down?
• Put down your friends and family, your dreams, ideas and/or goals?
• Lose his/her temper frequently over little things?
• Make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells to keep the peace?
• Make threats to hurt you, leave you, hurt your pets, destroy your property and/or commit suicide if you don’t do what he/she wants?
• Play mind games or make you feel guilty?
• Refuse to take responsibility for his/her actions? Blames you, drugs or alcohol, their boss, parents, etc. for their behavior? (Cited: www.newhopeforwomen.org.)
These are some of the warning signs of domestic abuse. If you see that this is happening to you or someone you love, there are resources to help you. Understanding what domestic violence is and that it can happen to any race, religion, gender or economic status is the first step of awareness.
Domestic violence does occur in our community. Last year, Rise Above Violence served 302 victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault and answered 292 hotline calls. We can help you with counseling, housing and resources to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Rise Above Violence is our community’s local domestic violence and sexual assault organization. Our hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 264-9075. If you would like to know how you can do more in your community to help, call us today at 264-1129.
Volunteers are always needed and welcomed. We need all volunteers from direct advocacy work to helping with behind-the-scenes projects and events.
Rise Above Violence provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving over 300 victims each year. Rise also works to eliminate violence through education for youth and our community. All programs and services are free and confidential, including emergency prevention education and empowerment programs. Visit www.riseaboveviolence.org for more information or call 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today.
By Cheryl Bowdridge