By Ashley Wilson
Rise Above Violence
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.
Purple is the color for domestic violence awareness. Purple ribbons will line main street, Hot Springs Boulevard and 8th Street to bring awareness about this important issue in our community.
Businesses downtown will be participating with Youth Rise to display statistics about domestic violence. We would love to hear from you which ones surprised you. Reach out on Facebook and share which one was the most impactful.
As well, the Town of Pagosa Springs is joining with Rise to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pagosa Springs on Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. The county proclamation will be during the commissioners’ meeting on Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. Join us at these meetings to stand with victims and survivors in our community.
While awareness of the issues is important, we need you to take action. Three ways you can take actions today:
1. Believe survivors — if someone chooses to tell you about what is happening to them, listen.
2. Take a stand by being a voice for those who do not have one — call out the victim blaming, call out the jokes and behaviors that minimize women and other groups, do not tolerate the talk of violence against a partner even in jest.
3. Participate with Rise. You can give a gift to support survivors (www.riseaboveviolence.org), you can give time by volunteering to be a crisis volunteer, you can come to events and show your support.
Last year, Rise Above Violence served 400 victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault and answered 204 hotline calls in our community. 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, seven days a week at (970) 264-9075. If you would like to know how you can do more in your community to help, call us today at (970) 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.
Did you know that, nationally, 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.
Thank you to our community partners that stand with us during October. Your support lets victims know that their community supports them and may even help end their silence.
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 more than 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 (970) 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today.