Rise’s Teen Board of Directors raising awareness about dating violence


By John Finefrock

Rise Above Violence

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and Rise Above Violence’s Teen Board of Directors is working hard to spread the word about this issue.

As part of the campaign this month, the teen board is offering specific action steps that anyone can do to combat relationship violence in our community.

This week’s action step: Know the red flags and call them out.

Some examples of common red flags in relationships include:

• Checking cellphones, emails or social networks without permission.

• Extreme jealousy or insecurity.

• Constant belittling or put-downs.

• Keeping a partner isolated from family or friends.

• Making false accusations.

• Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way.

• Telling someone what they can and cannot do.

• Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex.

“It’s not something talked about very often,” said Charlie, an eighth-grader at Pagosa Springs Middle School and a member of the YouthRise Teen Board of Directors. “So it deserves to be stated and talked about because there are a lot of people that don’t know they’re in an abusive relationship. They’re kind of just missing all the signs.”

The YouthRise Teen Board of Directors meets outside of school — both virtually and in-person, on Fridays — and is working toward the goal of ending relationship violence in Pagosa Springs. This month, the teen board is recording weekly YouTube videos about teen dating violence, which can be viewed on the Rise Above Violence social media channels.

Additionally, the teen board will be posting red garden flags around town parks in the upcoming weeks, with a relationship “red flag” written on each one of them. 

For more information about YouthRise programs, offered at no cost, contact Cheryl Bowdridge at cheryl@riseaboveviolence or 946-2576, or John Finefrock at john@riseaboveviolence.org or 403-5461.

Rise Above Violence is a nonprofit organization which promotes the belief that all people have the right to live free from violence. Rise provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence. All programs and services are free and confidential. Visit riseaboveviolence.org for more information or call the 24-hour hotline at 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today.