Parkites join global movement to stem violence against women
You might have thought it was just one of those silly, spontaneous flash mobs. There were hugs and happy faces dancing in the sunshine at the Town Lift on Thursday. But, if you looked and listened closely, there were also tears and a deadly serious message.
The event was part of "One Billion Rising" a global demonstration calling for an end to violence against women. It was inspired, in part, by the rape of a woman in India who died as a result of injuries sustained in a brutal sexual assault. The crime received international attention and highlighted the continuing plight of women in many societies around the world.
The message was especially poignant in the wake of news that Oscar Pretorius, the heroic amputee who competed in the London Olympics, had been accused that morning of murdering his girlfriend in South Africa.
But local law enforcement and a handful of domestic-violence service providers, many of who were at Thursday’s event, were likely thinking about cases that hit much closer to home. They have proof that violence against women occurs within our county and even within our neighborhoods.
According to Park City Mayor Dana Williams, Park City takes pride in being tolerant of diverse ideas but, he said, it will continue to be intolerant of violence. In fact, the community has demonstrated strong support for counseling and protective services for victims of violence. The Park City Board of Realtors annual fundraising effort on behalf of the Peace House and the Police Department’s recent hiring of a victim’s advocate are two examples.
But, despite Park City and Summit County’s relative prosperity and level of awareness they are not immune. The violence may just be less visible.
While the mood was light on Thursday, the resolve was strong. But in order to sustain the effort, local residents need to press state and federal lawmakers to adopt policies that protect women and families from violence.
Also, everyone should be willing to reach out to those who may be afraid to ask for help. For more information go to http://www.peacehouse.org or, in an emergency, call the shelter’s 24-hour help line, 800-647-9161.
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“We would also agree that the way Hideout is going about its business is not creating harmony within our community,” writes Jeff Sterling in a guest editorial. “There must be a better way. Hideout, the choice is yours.”