By Ashley Wilson
Special to The PREVIEW
Teal is the color of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. You will see teal ribbons lining main street this month as a symbol of the efforts to prevent and educate the community about this important issue.
Join with Rise Above Violence in offering a collective voice that says sexual assault is not acceptable in our community.
On April 2, the Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County proclaimed April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
If you are looking for ways to support, join us:
•Wear teal to show support all month long.
• April 24 at noon at the bell tower for the Denim Day Walk.
• Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at Crossfit Pagosa for the original Push-Up Challenge.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is intended to draw attention the fact that sexual violence is widespread and has public health implications for every community member of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
• One in three women and one in six men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.
• One in three teens will experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend this year.
• Twenty-eight victims of sexual assault were served by Rise Above Violence last year, but we know there are many more who do not come forward.
How do we make a difference?
Educating our community and our youth is the first step. Teaching respectful boundaries and asking for consent start a conversation with both youth and adults to address the prevalence of unwanted advances. It starts by not being silent or expecting victims to be silent for our own comfort. Speaking for and standing with victims in our community to be able to share their story and hold the abuser accountable — not just in the legal system, but in the social system as well.
Are you interested in learning more? Rise Above Violence would love to provide you with information, and we are always looking for volunteers. We have many volunteer opportunities from special event help to being a volunteer crisis advocate. Call 261-1129 for more information.
Rise Above Violence is a nonprofit organization which promotes the belief that all people have the right to live free from violence. Rise provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving over 350 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 Ashley Wilson