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Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
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The Bawmann Group
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October 7, 2008

Colorado Commemorates National Domestic Violence Awareness Month With A Walk in Her Shoes Rally

Yesterday, domestic violence programs, government officials, survivors and their families commemorated National Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the Colorado State Capitol with “A Walk in Her Shoes” rally. Speakers at the rally celebrated “A Walk Then” – the history of Colorado’s domestic violence awareness and prevention movement – and “A Walk Now” – where this movement is headed.

According to Project Safeguard, 49 people died as a result of domestic violence in Colorado in 2007. From 2000-2007, 19 children were killed during an incident of domestic violence. These staggering statistics indicate a need for all Coloradans to take a stand against domestic violence.

At the rally, attendees remembered those who have died as a result of domestic violence, celebrated those who have survived and connected with those who continue to work to end violence against women and children. Jacqueline St. Joan, former Denver County judge and Denise Washington, executive director of the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, spoke about the organization’s 30th anniversary and the strides the State has made in increasing safety for victims and holding perpetrators accountable through the development of victim protective orders. They also discussed the passage of the Address Confidentiality Program which gives victims fearing for their lives a confidential, substitute address.

“While Governor Ritter has officially proclaimed October National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we celebrate our successful initiatives today, it is critical that we do not lose sight of the work that still needs to be accomplished,” said Washington. “In a single day in 2007, Colorado domestic violence programs reported 301 unmet requests for services because they were experiencing a critical shortage of funds and staff to assist victims in need of housing, child care, mental health and substance abuse counseling and legal representation. These are the programs that spend countless hours with survivors and their families and they need our help.”

“As a domestic abuse survivor, I’ve seen first hand the impact services and support offered by shelters and agencies can have on one’s life,” said Jacqueline Withers, domestic abuse survivor. “I wouldn’t be standing here today, filled with strength, without them.”

Following calls from other speakers for increased awareness of the effects of domestic violence, Rich Batten, administrator of the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, announced the launch of the Colorado Men Against Domestic Violence (CMADV) campaign. This campaign is asking men to sign a pledge of declaration stating that they will take a stand against domestic violence. By building an active community of men who sign the pledge form online at www.coloradodads.com at social service and community organizations statewide, CMADV hopes to also educate young men on what it really means to be a man and act as a resource and referral source for local programs.

“Only by making the commitment to do no harm and educate young men on the importance of family safety can men help end the cycle of violence,” remarked Batten.

Shoes decorated by domestic violence survivors representing their strength and character were displayed on the Capitol lawn during the rally. Shoes donated by others in recognition of the event were also displayed.

For more information on National Domestic Violence Awareness month and domestic violence resources, visit www.ccadv.org. For more information on the CMADV campaign, visit www.coloradodads.com.