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Domestic Violence Organizations Meet in Frederick in Aftermath of Watts Case

September 7, 2018

Domestic violence resources

Safe Shelter of the St. Vrain Valley

P.O. Box 231

Longmont, Colo. 80502-0231

24-hour crisis hotline: 303-772-4422

Teen Crisis Text Line: 720-340-TERA

Office: 303-772-0432

safeshelterofthestvrain.org

A Woman’s Place

P.O. Box 71

Greeley, Colo. 80632

Crisis line: 970-356-4226; 866-356-4226

Office: 970-351-0476

awpdv.org

Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence

835 North Street

Boulder, Colo. 80304

Crisis hotline: 303-444-2424

Office: 303-449-8623

safehousealliance.org

A few minutes after a conversation on domestic violence was set to begin at the Carbon Valley Recreation Center on Thursday, only 20 people were in attendance.

Of the 20 people, nearly all were shelter employees or volunteers, along with a Longmont police detective and a woman working on her sociology degree. All but two in attendance were women, and only one expressly said she was a victim of domestic violence.

“It’s kind of what happens with our particular field,” said Jackie List, executive director of Safe Shelter of the St. Vrain Valley. “It’s very difficult for people to talk about it.”

List added that her organization and A Woman’s Place, a Weld County domestic violence advocacy organization, set up the conversation in the wake of the death last month of Shanann Watts and her two young daughters, Bella and Celeste . Watts’ husband, Christopher Watts, is charged with murder in connection with their deaths.

“We didn’t know when we set this up if it was well placed considering the tragedy the community has endured, so we thought we would see if we could have a conversation. At the moment, it appears not,” List said.

Darci Darling, interim executive director of A Woman’s Place said domestic violence, particularly in small, close-knit communities can be difficult to talk about, but it is important to get information out so people know help is available.

“It’s definitely happening in the community,” Darling said. “It’s horrible that a tragedy like this is what has to bring it to light. We want people to know about our services, so when the danger is escalating, they know they have somewhere to go.”

Shanann Watts’ death garnered national news coverage, and the small Weld County town of Frederick was flooded with reporters, camera men and news vans for week afterward. Hundreds of people showed up at a candlelight vigi l in front of the Watts’ home.

But domestic violence, List said, is widespread and “thrives in darkness and silence.” She has heard anecdotally from a Boulder County prosecutor that if 2,000 cases are reported to the police, the number actually occurring could be 10 times as high.

“It’s second, even if it’s second, only to sexual assault, people don’t want to bring it to light,” she said. “That is one of the reasons we are doing this. Domestic violence thrives in darkness and in silence.”

After List and Darling finished talking to two reporters, they formed a circle with the chairs in the room — and in spite of the low turnout — sat down and got to talking.

John Bear: 303-473-1355, bearj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/johnbearwithme

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