Rising for 25 Years to End Domestic and Sexual Violence in Pagosa!
By: Ashley Wilson
25 years of serving Pagosa, 25 years of responding to the crisis calls of victims. Rise Above Violence (then, Archuleta County Victims Assistance Program) has been rising to end domestic violence and sexual assault for 25 years. This is both a humble celebration and an exploration of what the next 25 hold.
We posed a questions to some of our supporters, some of our Youth Rise and our staff about what our 25 year tag line should be. Carmen and I always fall on the side of optimistic and really liked “ending domestic and sexual violence in the next generation”. We got feedback that the goal was to lofty, unrealistic, and overwhelming.
It is lofty and can feel overwhelming, but we really feel that it is realistic. The next conversations were how to do share our vision, passion and thoughts around how to end it (domestic and sexual violence) in the next generation. We brought it down to the vision for Pagosa – it is unrealistic to think WE (as in Rise, our community, or survivors) can end it in the world, the US or even Colorado; BUT we can end it in Pagosa. That is the sphere of influence that WE can in fact mold and change. So if we can end it in Pagosa, where do we start?
We knew that would be the question from those that support us, so here is our mission this year for our 25th anniversary year, and for the next 25 as we work toward the goal of ending domestic and sexual violence in Pagosa: Rise staff and supporters will share strategies and action steps that we all can take to end it. We will dig deep into specific action steps that we believe can help get our community there.
The very first action step: Acknowledge that domestic violence and sexual assault is a problem in our community. Rise served just under 400 victims of relationship violence in Pagosa Springs last year.
Rise cannot do it alone, Survivors cannot do it alone, and individuals cannot do it alone. For this to end in Pagosa WE all must come together to make that happen.
Up NEXT: February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – be on the lookout for our articles in the paper, social media posts, and Youth Rise campaigns in our community. See how we end it in our Youth!