Elevate sexual assault and domestic violence prevention education in the San Juans | Guest column

  • Sat May 4th, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by the Stand Up Men

We would like to thank Colleen Smith for her great April 17 editorial, “We cannot ignore sexual assault.” The good news is that SAFE San Juans offers a great solution that all islanders can help create.

For the past four years, San Juan Islanders have become accustomed to seeing 10 to 15 or more Stand Up Men supporting efforts of SAFE San Juans’ mission to end domestic violence and sexual assault in our island communities. It may seem strange that this is necessary in our idyllic community but unfortunately we are not unlike communities of all sizes in our country plagued with these same kinds of problems.

Not only does domestic violence account for more than half of all the calls our San Juan County sheriff’s office receives, but SAFE staff and other resource agencies are working overtime to help survivors. Nationally, statistics say that one out of three women and one out of six men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. However, such statistics don’t capture the extent of the problems in our society. The unreported numbers of men who experience physical or emotional abuse and bullying are unknown because few men feel comfortable admitting that they are abused, and much abuse against women goes unreported, remaining hidden behind closed doors.

Stand Up Men chose April, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, to launch a campaign to raise $45,000 to support SAFE’s initiative to dramatically upgrade its fact-based sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and healthy relationships education in our schools and our community.

These programs will provide islanders with the knowledge, strategies, tools and professional support they need to stop the abuse and develop healthy relationships.

Stand Up Men is inviting our community’s businesses, schools, other providers of domestic violence and sexual assault governmental and non-governmental services, and all islanders to endorse the campaign and stand with us to attain this goal. For more information, visit SAFE San Juan’s website (safesj.org/sum). There is more information about SAFE’s services, specifically the school education programs SAFE feels best meet our community’s needs. The resources page provides vital, fact-based information and guidance regarding understanding what domestic violence is; types of abuse; why people abuse; developing healthy relationships; dating basics and much more.

Let’s come together as a community to help our youth and adults understand and practice developing healthy relationships. Doing so will improve quality of life for so many islanders.

We welcome your contributions to this vitally important SAFE program. Please select your level of sponsorship (www.safesj.org/sum) and either send a check or contribute by credit card on the SAFE site with a contribution that corresponds with your desired level of support.

Ron Hanson, Larry Greene, Paul Walsh, Juan Lopez, Kerwin Johnson, Mick Foster, Jim Lawrence, John Stamey, Wayne Eshelman, Matt Clausen, Richard Low, Steve Porten, Scott Schwinge, Teddy Deane, Andrew Popovich on behalf of Stand Up Men.