Abuse in Focus, domestic violence, Elder Abuse, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Abuse in Focus: Gaslighting

There are many types of abuse utilized to exert power over an individual in an effort to control them. These patterns can include physical, financial, emotional, and mental; gaslighting is a form of mental and emotional abuse.  


This abusive behavior is one that has been used by family, friends, intimate partners, and in the workplace, and employs multiple tactics to achieve control. Some of these tactics are:

  1. Minimization: This is a downplaying of other abusive behaviors, to trivialize how the victim may feel or think. By the abuser claiming they were only joking, telling the victim they “take things too seriously”, or by calling the victim “overly sensitive”, the abuser can gain more power over their victim.
    i.e., “I am only joking, why are you taking this so seriously? Stop being so sensitive all the time.”
  2. Denial: An abuser may completely deny having said or done something, whether the victim has proof of the behavior or not. This is meant to make a victim question themselves on whether something did actually occur, and may lead the victim to think they are “going crazy”.
    i.e., “You are lying. I never said/did that. Quit making stuff up.”
  3. Discrediting: The abuser tells the victim, or other people, that the victim is crazy, irrational, unstable, or untrustworthy. This can isolate the victim, making it more difficult for them to leave an abusive situation.
  4. Countering: The abusive party repeatedly questions the victim’s memory, telling them they don’t remember things correctly. As with many other gaslighting patterns, this is designed to make the victim second guess themselves, to minimize past behaviors, or to outright deny something occurred.
    i.e., “That is not how that happened. You never remember anything right.”

Some indicators that you may be the victim of gaslighting can include:

  1. Second guessing your perceptions, thoughts, feelings, or memory.
  2. Feeling like you are overly sensitive, confused, or crazy.
  3. Frequently apologizing to your abuser.
  4. Feeling like you can’t do anything right.
  5. Struggling to make decisions.
  6. Having the sensation that something is wrong, or that you used to be a different person (more happy, confident, relaxed).

If you may believe that you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, or have further questions regarding this or other abusive behaviors, AVRC staff are available to assist!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656


Facts provided by the National Domestic Violence Hotline

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
crime victims rights, domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Stalking: Get the Facts

     Stalking is often depicted in popular media by a hooded stranger creeping in the shadows, following their victims at a distance, always watching them. In reality, stalking takes on many forms, and sometimes occurs without the offender ever having to leave their home. With the rise in social media, methods of stalking have become even more advanced, and it is that much more important to understand the elements of stalking, and the potential lethality of the overall behavior.

Stalking Laws

  • Stalking is considered a felony upon first offense in the state of Colorado.
  • Colorado Law, or “Vonnie’s Law,” defines stalking as:
    1) a credible threat, and/or 
    2) repeated behavior, that reasonably causes someone to be afraid or suffer serious emotional distress.
  • “Vonnie’s Law” further states that stalking behaviors are identified as following, approaching, putting under surveillance, communicating with or making threats to or regarding the individual, friends or immediate family of the individual, and other repeated patterns or contacts that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person to suffer serious emotional distress.
  • All 50 states have laws against stalking, but less than 1/3 of the states classify stalking as a felony at first offense .

Stalking Statistics

  • 1 in every 6 women and 1 out of every 19 men in the United states have been stalked in their lifetime.
  • 3 out of 4 stalking victims know their stalkers, including family, current or former intimate partners, and acquaintances.
  • 66% of female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • 76% of female homicide victims killed by a current of former intimate partner were stalked by their murderer prior to their death.
  • Of male stalking victims, 48% reported they were stalked by another male, and 45% by a female.
  • People aged 18-24 have the highest rates of stalking victimization.Privacy-Infographic-20151125-featured-image


  • Cyber-stalking is a form of stalking that utilizes technology to harass, threaten, or follow a person.
  • Cyber-stalking includes tracking or monitoring a victim’s whereabouts and actions using GPS on their phone or vehicle, and/or through social media; sending threatening messages and images by email, social media, or text; hacking a victim’s personal accounts (including email, social media, and phone) to monitor, harass, or discredit the victim; and posting personal information, such as date of birth, social security number, and phone number on the internet.

The Impact

  • Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social dysfunction than the general population.
  • 1 in 4 stalking victims contemplated suicide.
  • 37% of stalking victims fulfill the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • 86% of stalking victims surveyed reported that their personalities had changed as a result of being stalked.

If you, a friend, or loved one, are the victim of stalking, or would like to know more about the facts of stalking, please know that you aren’t alone, and that help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656


Statistics provided by:
The Office for Victims of Crime
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence


AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

One in Three/One in Six

1 in 3.

1 in 6.

Do you know what those numbers mean? It means that you observe a group of 3 women or 6 men on the street, it is statistically likely that at least one of those women and one of those men have experienced sexual violence within their lifetime. It is also possible that neither of these survivors felt safe to report their victimization, as 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM) and the message for survivors of sexual violence in 2018 is Embrace Your Voice. One of the ways to show support for #SAAPM is to learn more about sexual violence, such as what is detailed in our previous post: Sexual Abuse and the Culture of SilenceOther ways to show support this month include wearing a teal ribbon, utilizing the #SAAMP hashtag, or following any of the other suggestions available via the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) website

Embrace your voice this April, and every day thereafter. If you are a survivor of sexual violence and you are seeking support to find and embrace your voice, resources are available to help.

National Sexual Assault Hotline:
National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

Statistics provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.


domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Peer & Group Counseling

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) recognizes that road to recovery for survivors of violent crime can be a long and trying one, and believes that one of the best tools for potentially reaching the end of that road may be counseling. AVRC offers peer and group counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuses in Bent, Crowley, and Otero County. There is no charge for counseling, or any other service provided by AVRC, and it is not required for a victimization to be reported to Law Enforcement in order for a survivor to access counseling support.

Peer counseling, by definition, is counseling, support, and guidance provided by a trained peer professional. AVRC’s peer counseling is survivor-driven, with the goal of working toward recovery from past and/or potentially ongoing abuses. While in peer counseling, AVRC staff assist victims with resources, tools, and techniques to recognize unhealthy and abusive patterns, build self-esteem, and develop healthy coping skills.

Group counseling for sexual violence and domestic violence victims is conducted with the hope that survivors can build a support system within the group, and recognize that they are not alone in their experiences. As with individual peer counseling, AVRC staff can work with the group on recognizing the cycle of violence, establishing assertive communication skills, and setting healthy boundaries in their relationships.

Should it be determined that a survivor’s needs are not being met by peer or group counseling, or that they have concerns regarding their mental health, AVRC can provide appropriate referrals and resources to best meet those needs.

If you are interested in seeking peer or group counseling, or would like more information, AVRC is just a call away!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24-hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Crisis Intervention

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) offers many different services to assist the victims of violent crime in Bent, Crowley, and Otero Counties. Among these many invaluable services, AVRC offers 24-Hour Crisis Intervention support. Crisis Intervention is available to any survivors of violent crime, whether a crime has been reported to law enforcement or not; AVRC does not require that a client report their victimization to law enforcement in order for services to be received. Crisis Intervention support can be accessed in many ways, including calling AVRC’s 24-hour hotline number at (719) 384-7764, by walking in to the AVRC office, at 415 Colorado Ave., La Junta, during office hours, or by referral from a 3rd party agency, including, but not limited to, mental/physical health professionals, court staff, legal aid, and other local support agencies. While working with AVRC staff, safety is a top priority; AVRC will work with the client to meet the immediate needs they may have that puts their safety at risk.

All of AVRC’s services are voluntary. AVRC Staff will not force a victim to take any steps that they are not ready to take or feel are not in their best interest. AVRC Staff will do their best to provide the survivor with the resources and options that may best meet their needs, in order for them to make an informed decision about their next steps toward safety, self-sufficiency, and recovery.

If you, or someone you know, may be in need of Crisis Intervention support, or have any questions about AVRC’s services, please do not hesitate to come in to the AVRC Office, or to call AVRC’s 24-Hour Hotline #.

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656


Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

Sexual Abuse and the Culture of Silence

There has been a lot of recent discussion over the topic of sexual abuse, due in part to media attention being focused on what is occurring in Hollywood. Several women and men have come forward, sharing their experience with the “Culture of Silence”, wherein they were sexually abused, assaulted or harassed by someone in a possible position of authority or seniority over them; someone they knew, worked with, or worked for. Many have further indicated that this social dynamic is a secret, hidden in plain sight and that a lot of people know it has been going on, but rarely does anyone say or do anything about it. Sexual abuse has been treated as commonplace, and this all lends itself to an ongoing cycle of violence.

To stop the cycle, we must work to better understand the violence. Sexual abuse isn’t about sexual gratification. Violent abuse, in any form, is about obtaining power and control over someone. It is characterized as an exertion of one’s power over another, by force that can be physical, emotional, mental, financial, and/or sexual, giving the perpetrator a sense of control over their victim. These acts of sexual violence are done without consent from the victim, also as in instances when a victim is unable to understand or give consent. Consent, as defined by Colorado state law, means “cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will and with knowledge of the nature of the act” (Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated § 18-3-401). Understand that without appropriate consent, any proceeding sexual act can be characterized as an act of violence.

7_Out_of_10_Rapes 122016

A method by which an offender may gain more power is when the offender can use their relationship with their victim to gain further, ongoing access and control; this is a common feature in the survivor stories from Hollywood. In 70% of cases of reported rape, the offender was someone known to the victim, including acquaintances, current or former partners, or family members. In a rural setting, a survivor may not feel safe to report due to a lack of anonymity of either both the victim or their attacker, as is typical to characterize small towns with “everybody knows everybody”. Another challenge rural victims can face is a lack of resources or little knowledge about the resources available. These factors, among others, contribute to rape being one of the most under-reported crimes; nearly 65% of rapes are not reported to law enforcement. Survivors of sexual violence can experience shame, self-blame, and guilt, and the fear of not being believed and a culture of victim-blaming only serves to strengthen the “Culture of Silence”.

Coming forward and telling your story is a deeply personal decision; recognize that you are not alone and that support is out there. If you, or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence and is seeking support, whether a report to law enforcement has been made or not, agencies are available to help.

National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Arkansas Valley Resource Center, serving Bent, Crowley, and Otero Counties,
via 24 Hour Hotline at (719) 384-7764

Statistics provided by the Rape, Abuse, & Incent National Network (RAINN)

Sexual Assualt

Start by Believing

Teal RibbonDid you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month?  There are several ways that you can get involved to help bring awareness for those that have been affected by Sexual Assault.   Visit this link to find out how: http://www.nsvrc.org/blogs/saam/8-ways-get-involved-sexual-assault-awareness-month

A new campaign has begun in an attempt to end the cycle of silence.  Most victims of sexual assault or abuse confide in a friend or family member.  What if someone comes to you?  How will you respond?  Visit www.startbybelieving.org to learn more.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, know that you are not alone.  We can help!  No one should go through this pain alone.  Call our 24 hour hotline for confidential support (719) 384-7764.

2 out of 3 victims of sexual assaults go unreported.  Find more statistics at https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

Below are links to additional resources:



Teal Ribbon