By Ashley Wilson
Special to The PREVIEW
Next week begins Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so be prepared to see purple ribbons and hear proclamations at both the county commissioners’ meeting and town council meeting next week.
Rise volunteers, staff and students work to line main street, Lewis Street, Hot Springs Boulevard and 8th Street with purple ribbons. The ribbons serve as a visual reminder of those who experience domestic violence in our community. We hope that it keeps the community thinking about how we can all make a difference for those suffering in our town.
The whole month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Awareness is a critical part to prevention. A community that is educated and responsive can work together to end interpersonal violence. Rise provides education to community groups who are interested in learning more about how to recognize the signs of domestic violence as well as ways to help. If you know someone who is in a violent relationship, Rise staff can work with you individually to learn how to support your friend or family member.
The county commissioners and the town council are joining with Rise to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County. Both proclamations will be read on Oct. 1. The county proclamation will be during the commissioners’ meeting on Oct. 1 at 1:30 p.m., followed by the town proclamation at 5 p.m. Join us at these meetings to stand with victims and survivors in our community.
Nationally, the numbers are astounding. One in four women and one in seven men will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. 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. We often see the national numbers and can acknowledge the frightening rate at which violence occurs, but still believe that our own community is not affected. In Archuleta County, Rise Above Violence served more than 350 victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault and answered 117 crisis hotline calls, and more than 300 calls for non-crisis services in 2018.
In order to be part of the solution, we as a community must know what to look for and how to help. Knowing the warning signs are the first step.
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.
How do you help yourself or someone else? Rise can help you with counseling, housing and resources to keep you and your loved ones safe. Rise is our community’s local domestic violence and sexual assault organization. Our hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 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.
Thank you to our community partners that stand with us during this important awareness month. Your support lets victims know that their community supports them and may even help end their silence.
Things to look for during Domestic Violence Awareness Month: the Art Above Violence Show on Oct. 5; the Clothesline Project will be at Town Hall and the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library throughout the month.
To learn more about activities during Domestic Violence Awareness month, follow Rise Above Violence on Facebook or check out our website, www.riseaboveviolence.org.
Rise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that 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 Ashley Wilson