Murphy: Join the movement to end relationship violence (column)
As Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins in 2017, so begins a new movement in Colorado. In partnership with St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, Advocates for Victims of Assault is proud to serve as one of several statewide pilot sites for the Stand Up Colorado campaign. Stand Up Colorado is led by the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Denver City Attorney’s Office and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
The vision of the movement is simple: A future free from relationship violence. It is a statewide, collaborative, multi-year relationship-violence-prevention campaign that goes beyond public awareness to alter behavior and effect long-term social change. The movement will prevent future relationship violence by shaping an informed, zero-tolerance public attitude that inspires individual and community action.
The three key messages of Stand Up Colorado are:
-Relationship violence is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help.
-It is the responsibility of those who use abusive behaviors to seek help for themselves to change their behavior.
-It is vital that all members of the community take action to help end relationship violence.
Why do we need a movement to achieve widespread agreement with, and action based upon, these principles? One in 7 people in Colorado experience relationship violence; in 2016, 48 Coloradoans died as a result of this violence. Here in Summit, we served over 300 survivors of violence last year, including men, women and children. Yet we know that the majority of such crimes go unreported, for fear of the consequences that reporting may bring upon a survivor.
Perpetrators of abuse too easily find justification for their behavior in the larger culture. They are shielded from consequences and emboldened by the failure of many in power to acknowledge such violence as a problem, and by the silence of the majority who know better. With a societal sickness so persistent and pervasive, nothing less than a culture shift will bring us the change we seek. Part of this shift is the removal of blame and the responsibility for change from the victim to the perpetrator, reflected in everything from the language we use in discussing individual instances of violence, to the response of the community as a whole to the perpetrator’s choice to be violent.
Stay tuned for more information about Stand Up Colorado, both statewide and locally, and join the movement to end relationship violence!
Rob Murphy is the executive director of Summit County Advocates for Victims of Assault, which provides services which enhance safety and justice for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trauma while promoting peace in our community. To learn more Advocates for Victims of Assault, visit SummitAdvocates.org, or contact us at 970-668-3906. This is both our office number and 24-7 crisis hotline for those seeking information and assistance. The Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) works with a diverse network of domestic violence and other community-based programs across Colorado to help them effectively assist survivors of relationship violence. CCADV improves individual and community health and well-being through statewide visionary advocacy and social change efforts, supporting our members, and informing the public. To learn more about CCADV, visit Ccadv.org.
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