domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency

Go Orange this February!

 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) and in 2018, everyone is wearing orange! The #Orange4Love challenge, or Wear Orange Day, is on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, and is part of the TDVAM campaign to raise awareness regarding an issue that 1 in 3 teens and young adults face. But what is teen dating violence? Do you know what the warning signs of dating violence can look like?

81% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

According to loveisrespect.org, teen dating violence occurs on a spectrum of healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, and abusive relationships. Unhealthy relationships are characterized as being “based on attempts to control another person”, whereas abusive relationships are “based on an imbalance of power and control”. As with any abusive situation, abusive behavior is a means for the perpetrator to gain control over another person. These controling behaviors can be emotional, mental, financial, physical, or sexual, and include other patterns such as stalking, intimidation, and isolation. Most commonly, teens who had experienced dating violence reported physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuses. Put downs, jealousy, isolation from friends and family, and pressure over having sex are all abusive behaviors commonly associated with teen dating violence.

1.5 Million high school students admit to being hit or intentionally harmed by someone they are in a romantic relationship with.

Dating violence can have a serious impact on a survivor. Young adults who have experienced dating violence are at higher risk for eating disorders, unsafe or unhealthy sexual practices, substance abuse, and ongoing abuse in their adult relationships. On top of that, half (50%) of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide, in comparison to young men (5.4%) and young women (12.5%) who have not been in an abusive dating relationship.

Education may be one of  the best tools to combat dating violence. When students, teachers, and parents are able to identify unhealthy and abusive patterns, better support can be given to those who are experiencing or have experienced dating violence. Agencies such as the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) are available for students, teachers, parents, and community members alike who may have concerns for themselves or someone they know, as well as for group education regarding these issues.

If you are interested about learning more, or are in need of support for yourself, a friend or family member due to teen dating violence, reach out, speak up, and don’t forget to wear #Orange4Love!

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

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

Teen Dating Violence statistics and banner provided by loveisrespect.org.

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.
#MeToo

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
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Statistics provided by the Rape, Abuse, & Incent National Network (RAINN)
https://www.rainn.org/statistics