DOVE Center Blog

5 easy ways to support survivors this April

01 April 2019 Published in DOVE Center Blog

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, or SAAM, an opportunity to raise awareness and get involved. DOVE Center is a proud provider of services to survivors of sexual assault in the greater St. George area. Take part in one or more of the following events to commemorate SAAM and show support for survivors.

 

1. Visit What Were You Wearing, an interactive exhibit that demonstrates clothing has nothing to do with sexual assault.

On Monday, April 1st, (and that’s NO FOOLING!), the DSU Women’s Resource Center and DOVE Center will host an opening reception for What Were You Wearing, an interactive exhibit that demonstrates clothing has nothing to do with sexual assault. This is the second year the two organizations have collaborated to bring the exhibit to life. It’s a highly compelling exhibit which received critical acclaim last year and had a profound impact on all who viewed it.

Here’s the thing, sexual assault has always been a violent crime intended to exert power and control over another. But a long-lasting myth has endured that sexual assault is a crime of sex and seduction and can therefore be excused or understood if a victim’s clothing was provocative or revealing. But there is no excuse for sexual assault and certainly the responsibility for its perpetration lies solely with the perpetrator, not a victim’s clothing.

Take a walk through the exhibit so you can literally see for yourself the insidiousness of the argument that clothing invites or leads to sexual assault. The opening reception begins at 3 p.m. in the Holland Centennial Commons at Dixie State University. The exhibit will be on display there from April 1st through the 12th. It will be moved to the lobby of the Eccles Fine Arts Center for viewing from April 15th to the 19th. There is no fee for admission.

2. Wear TEAL on April 2nd

April 2nd is WEAR TEAL Day. Teal is the color of sexual assault awareness and wearing teal shows you care about consent and respect, and that you believe and support survivors. So find that shirt, scarf, bracelet or socks with a little teal in it and don it proudly!

3. Tune in for a conversation with DOVE advocates

Also on April 2nd, tune in to KDXU 890 AM or 94.9 FM from 9 to 10 a.m. to join DOVE Center advocates in a conversation with host Andy Griffin. We’ll be talking about SAAM and DOVE Center, including the free and confidential services provided by DOVE for those recovering from sexual assault.

4. Take the Start By Believing pledge

On Wednesday, April 3rd, the DSU Police Department is launching its Start By Believing campaign at an open house, also in the Holland building, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Start By Believing is a global campaign working to create positive change in the way we respond to sexual assault. Its 3-pronged universal action plan when someone discloses rape or sexual assault is to (1) start by believing; (2) be supportive; and (3) ask how you can help. Stop by on Wednesday to meet your campus police officers, learn more, and take the pledge.

 5. Wear your fave jeans to work on Denim Day

And finally, there’s Denim Day, which will be celebrated on April 24th. Denim Day is a 20 year tradition that originated after a ruling in the Italian Supreme Court that overturned a rape conviction because, the justices reasoned, the victim was wearing tight jeans and therefore must have helped her assailant remove them, thus indicating consent. The next day, the women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work in solidarity with the victim. Wearing jeans on Denim Day has since become a symbol of protest of the destructive attitudes about sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape. Wear your favorite jeans on April 24th to show you support victims and reject the myths that surround sexual violence.

 

Making room for intentional awareness

The other day I heard a television pundit say, “80% of Americans want clean air and clean water,” during a panel discussion about climate change. Excuse me?!, I thought to myself, only eighty percent?? I immediately challenged the assertion because I find it impossible to believe that number is not 100%, one hundred percent! Everybody wants clean air and clean water. Don’t they? I tried to imagine a dissenter saying, “Nope, not me. I hate clean air and water. Yuk, no thank you!” But I couldn’t imagine it, there’s just no way I can believe such a person even exists.

I’m also quite certain I heard this remark out of context. I was in and out of the room and mostly distracted when I happened to overhear it. I’d be willing to bet that in its proper context, the comment made some sense and probably informed a broader topic. However, I’ll never know because I didn’t linger to hear more of the discussion and possibly gain understanding or insight because, well, I was busy.

This illustrates what it can feel like some days for social justice advocates, those on the front lines fighting for the dignity and rights of victims of sexual assault and other intimate partner abuses. You would think that everyone is fundamentally opposed to sexual assault--the 100%, if you will. Yet every day we hear accounts of victim blaming and other excuses used to justify the perpetration of sexual assault and harassment leading us to believe that everyone is not on the same page. At least not yet.

Part of DOVE Center’s mission is to “relentlessly pursue community education to increase bystander awareness and shift cultural norms.” We believe education is the primary key to unlocking solutions that will end intimate partner violence including sexual assault. But if we aren’t paying attention, or choose to hear only part of the message, or refuse to challenge our biases, we miss the bigger picture, that context that informs the broader topic. Approaching matters of sexual assault in this manner unintentionally contributes to toxic norms in our culture that tolerate bad behavior and worse, actual crimes of sexual violence. We understand the topic is hard to talk about, which is why so many just keep on walking, so to speak, and let the topic stay in the other room while they go about their business.

One in three women and one in four men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Nearly one in five women and one in 38 men have experienced attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. In Utah, one in eight women and one in 50 men will be raped in their lifetime. If we truly want to live in a healthy, thriving community, and enjoy meaningful, lasting, committed relationships, we can no longer afford to tune-in part way. We can no longer afford a victim-blaming mentality. We can do better to create a supportive culture for victims. Again, it starts with education. But we won’t get anywhere until each individual makes the personal commitment to believe victims, hold perpetrators accountable, explore opportunities for perpetrator treatment, and keep the conversation going. With our collective commitment, we can absolutely create change to the point that domestic and sexual violence no longer exist.

In the meantime, DOVE Center’s doors are open to provide supportive services to those who have been victimized by sexual assault and rape. You are not alone and we believe you.

The government shutdown and DOVE

21 January 2019 Published in DOVE Center Blog

We are facing uncertain times as the federal government shutdown continues with no immediate end in sight. DOVE Center is calling on the community to stand with survivors to help ensure that the critical services on which they rely will continue without interruption.

The Age of Consent

05 June 2018 Published in DOVE Center Blog

Increased healing and awareness, positive cultural awakening, and perpetrator accountability are all positive outcomes of the #MeToo revolution. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a downside that is emerging as well, and we have more work to do.

We need to quit asking survivors, "what were you wearing?"

27 April 2018 Published in DOVE Center Blog

Last month, DOVE Center and DSU’s Women’s Resource Committee sponsored an interactive exhibit on campus called “What Were You Wearing,” the purpose of which is to dispel a victim-blaming myth that clothing somehow invites a sexual assault. Victims of crime are not responsible for the crimes committed against them, but in the case of sexual assault, victims are often asked “what were you wearing?” -- a question that implies a victim’s clothing contributed to their being assaulted. We invite you to take a look at these photos and stories from local survivors to literally see for yourself how irrelevant clothing is to the commission of sexual assault. Believing survivors is a critical step in the effort to end sexual violence. #StartByBelieving #DOVEcanhelp #NOMORE

Calling All Men: Domestic Violence is Your Issue, Too!

07 February 2018 Published in DOVE Center Blog

"I see men and boys trying to outdo each other to see who's more tough, more manly," Rivers said. "But I believe a man is one who joins in the movement to end violence against women and children, who confronts those who commit the violence, who sets an example for boys and younger men, and who stands up to protect and respect women. That is a man."  ~Victor Rivas Rivers, 2018 guest presenter for DOVE's 5th Annual Gala

A Letter of Thanks for Your Support

29 November 2017 Published in DOVE Center Blog

At the end of each fiscal year we provide a report to inform donors, volunteers, and community members about our current financial position and funding sources, and highlight the year's accomplishments. Below is a short letter of thanks from our Executive Director and Board of Trustees President that was included in our Annual Report. To view the entire report, click here.

Each and every day we all make choices that may have lasting implications. At DOVE Center, our choices are focused on presenting our clients with opportunities and tools that help them break the cycle of violence and abuse to keep moving forward toward independence, safety, and peace.

The Mask of Concealment

09 September 2017 Published in DOVE Center Blog

They were the perfect family. You know, that family that has it all: the beautiful yard surrounded by the white picket fence, situated in an ideal neighborhood; nice cars, a boat, active in the community, the center of multiple social networks. Dad held a prominent professional position in the community, Mom was developing a high-powered career; they were raising beautiful children who were active in after-school activities and had busy social lives. Everyone admired their perfect life. In fact, many were envious and could only hope to one day have what this family had. Until the unthinkable happened.

The clown that never leaves

17 April 2017 Published in DOVE Center Blog

Sexual assault is a raw and brutal crime to survive. There are physical, emotional, psychological and financial effects that can last a lifetime. And even though survivors work hard to heal from the very real after-effects of an assault or rape, the reality of such trauma comes flooding back without warning and can trigger unwanted anxiety, self-doubt, sadness and anger.

The month of April is dedicated to sexual assault awareness. In an effort to honor those who have endured and survived sexual assault, we want to share this powerful poem. While personal to the author, it represents the experience of many survivors. We understand it may activate strong feelings that are not easy to feel or process, so please take care in reading it. We want all survivors of sexual and domestic violence to know you are not alone. We believe you. And if you need to talk, we are here.

I didn't see it coming

17 March 2017 Published in DOVE Center Blog

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, often developing gradually and worsening over time. The abuse isn't always physical, either. It can be psychological, emotional, and even digital. Domestic violence can take many forms, which is why it's hard to see it coming. 

Love is respect: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

13 February 2017 Published in DOVE Center Blog

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, an event that draws attention to the prevalence of teen dating abuse and the importance of healthy relationships. Being aware of the signs of abuse and learning about safe and respectful dating habits can help teens build positive relationships during a crucial time of life.

The stark reality is that teen dating violence is all too common. One in three teens experiences dating abuse, which is one too many. That translates to 1.5 million high school students reporting some kind of physical abuse from a dating partner every year. As teens are just beginning to form ideas about dating through the relationships they form in high school, it’s more important than ever to teach them about healthy habits early.

Speaking up for change: Desirae and Deondra Brown

17 January 2017 Published in DOVE Center Blog

It’s not easy to speak up about child sex abuse.

In fact, finding the courage to come forward can take years, or possibly decades. And even then, feelings of shame, fear, anger and isolation often resurface for survivors of abuse. Speaking up requires returning to a dark place, which is why reporting it to authorities can be so difficult.

Child sexual abuse knows no social or economic boundaries, and it is most often perpetrated by someone the child knows. Abusers can be manipulative, convincing their victims to stay quiet, or that the abuse is normal. They might isolate their victims and make them feel alone.

But the reality is, victims of child sex abuse are not alone. Every eight minutes a child is sexually assaulted in the United States. And for some, decades may pass before they are able to find the strength to speak out about the abuse.

For Desirae and Deondra Brown, it took years to come forward. Critically acclaimed pianists and members of the famed quintet The 5 Browns, they attended The Juilliard School in New York, toured extensively around the globe, and made numerous television appearances. However, for many years, they didn’t know that each other had been abused by their father — Desirae and Deondra each thought she was alone.

Happy Holidays from DOVE

15 December 2016 Published in DOVE Center Blog

‘Tis the season of twinkle lights, gift giving and caroling, and we’ve been getting into the holiday spirit here at DOVE Center. Over the past year we have been so very grateful for the incredible support of the southern Utah community. Together we have made safety and hope possible for survivors of trauma and abuse.

From all of us at DOVE, we wish you and yours a magical season filled with joy and glad tidings.

 

Dove can help

14 November 2016 Published in DOVE Center Blog

Have you seen the numbers? Even just here in the state of Utah, the statistics of reported sexual assault and domestic violence are staggering, and they don’t discriminate. But there is hope. If you are experiencing abuse, you are not alone. DOVE can help.

Call us at 435-628-0458

What is financial abuse?

21 October 2016 Published in DOVE Center Blog

Financial abuse is something that is rarely talked about but incredibly common. This insidious form of abuse involves exercising control over the finances of another person. Often, those who suffer from financial abuse rarely speak out, since they might feel ashamed or trapped by their lack of control over, or access to, financial resources.

This type of abuse is also the number one reason why domestic violence victims stay in an abusive relationship, or return to one after having left. Financial abuse can take many forms, but here are a few examples of how abusers exert financial control: