The challenge of family violence |

The challenge of family violence

Crime: An action that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited. Perhaps that’s an accurate definition, but it’s also antiseptic and hardly humanistic. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Statistics tell us that one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend. During the last year in Colorado there were over 60 domestic violence-related deaths, more than 200,000 crisis calls to counseling hotlines, and over 5,000 women and children spent the night at shelters while an equal number had to be turned away. As much as we would like to think otherwise, domestic violence does rear its ugly head even here in Happy Valley. The Eagle County Resource Center and the Sheriff’s Victim Services Unit have already fielded over 1,400 crises calls during the last six months, and that doesn’t include the calls to Sheriff’s Office or the valley’s police departments.”Domestic violence” is a sanitized term. A more accurate characterization might be to create mental images of black eyes, burst eardrums, split lips, burns, scalds, torn scalps, broken teeth and broken bones. Or how about the emotional trauma that’s done to children who witness domestic violence and then experience maladies such as bed-wetting, insomnia, digestive problems, eating disorders, anxiety, low self-esteem, nightmares, anger, loneliness and excessive violence toward parents and siblings?The Resource Center of Eagle County operates the 24-hour Advocate Crisis Line, the Freedom Ranch Safe house, and the Buddies Program. Their advocates program provides crisis intervention for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Services include 24-hour crisis hotline (949-7086), a women’s support group, safe housing, shelter programs, advocacy, counseling and education. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office also provides services to victims of domestic violence and other crimes. A well-trained and dedicated team of volunteers are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families and friends can reach an advocate by calling the Detention Center (328-8564) and asking to speak with the on-call advocate.The rash of domestic violence incidents in Colorado is a sober reminder that we must continue the crusade against this prevalent and horrible crime. The Sheriff’s Office and the Resource Center are sponsoring a “Celebration of Hope for Domestic Violence Survivors” to heighten awareness of this crisis on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m. Included in the program:– A candidates forum. This is an open invitation to every candidate running for office in Eagle County to express one idea that they have to help the county redress this problem. The candidates being invited are Arn Menconi, A.J. Johnson, Buz Reynolds, Richard DeClark and Peter Runyon, running for the Eagle County Board of Commissioners; Mark Hulbert and Bruce Brown, running for district attorney; And Peter Buckley, Tamra Underwood, Amy Phillips, Kristi Ferraro, Bob Trueblood and Ron Moreno, running for Avon Town Council.– A presentation to the outgoing commissioners.– Information booths.– Door prizes, face painting for the kids, and refreshments.Domestic violence is a non-partisan issue, but as former Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” What better way to demonstrate their individual commitment to the county than to present to the voters just one idea about how, if elected, they will tackle a problem so critical to the well-being of the community?For more information about this program, please call the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Victim’s Assistance (328-8544) or The Resource Center (949-7097.)Butch Mazzuca of Singletree writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz68@earthlink.netVail Colorado

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