Domestic violence: Not in my backyard

By Cheryl Bowdridge

Special to The SUN

Did you see the news surrounding Ray Rice and his domestic violence charge? Did you sigh a breath of relief and think to yourself, “I’m glad I live in a small community where domestic violence is not an issue?” Wait! Did you know that Archuleta County Victims Assistance (ACVAP) has served 217 victims so far this year? That is almost one victim per day right in our backyard.

We’ve been inundated with high-profile cases in the news lately. It has people wondering how much of a problem domestic violence really is. Ray Rice from the NFL was charged with domestic violence, Greg Odom brought domestic violence to our attention in the NBA and Charlotte Hornets player Jeffery Taylor was arrested two weeks ago for domestic violence.

So, is it just a problem with some athletes in professional sports? A judge in Alabama, a police officer in Kentucky and another in Washington have been accused of domestic assault.

So, is it just a problem with some government officials? Domestic violence killings in Florida and Los Angeles, a Flagstaff man on the run for beating his ex-girlfriend.

So, is it just a problem in big cities? Some may sit back and assume, “Not in my backyard.”

We would like to think it doesn’t happen here, but this is what I found when I opened up the newspaper this morning before I wrote this article. I found that there were two domestic violence charges in the police blotter and a murder/suicide investigation on the front page.

Domestic violence touches many, if not most, people’s lives in some form or fashion — it affects a victim’s friends and family who care and worry about them. Domestic violence affects the teachers who teach children who are too traumatized, worried or tired because of the chaos at home to learn. It affects employers who rely on victims to be productive, reliable employees, but have more sick days than many of their co-workers due to trauma or control by their batterer.

Domestic violence affects health care services and mental health providers who are “treating” a victim’s symptoms, but to whom the victim may not have divulged the true cause of their pain or emotional instability. Domestic violence affects the community as it has potential to grow into a public safety issue with kids becoming more violent because they learn this behavior at home, or the domestic violence escalates to involve neighbors or community members if the incident happens in public.

Domestic violence is, in fact, in our backyard. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Learn what you can about this issue and how you can help.

Visit ACVAP’s website at or call 264-9075 f you are concerned about yourself or someone you know. Report it if you suspect someone is being abused or suffering from domestic violence.

ACVAP is a nonprofit organization that promotes the belief that all people have the right to live free from violence.

ACVAP provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving over 400 victims each year. ACVAP also works to eliminate violence through education for youth and our community.

All programs and services are free and confidential, including emergency prevention education and empowerment programs.

Visit for more information or call 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today.

Or, if you want to be part of the team to help those in our backyard, volunteers for advocacy are always needed and welcomed.