2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR
TAOS MUNIC IPAL SC H OOL S
CAV s l o o h c s e h t n i y h t l CAV a e h n o s e s u foc s p i h s n o relati
By Susan Embry
ommunity Against Violence (CAV) is known as Taos’ shelter for women, children and men who are survivors of domestic violence. When we hear CAV mentioned, we picture a place where you can go to be safe and get help in crisis situations. Many people are not aware of the organization’s prevention programs, provided in schools throughout the county, to teach students of all ages how to protect themselves and their peers from many forms of violence. On Aug. 11, Anthony Harwood, CAV prevention director, and Leah Trujillo, CAV community educator, will speak during orientation to Taos Municipal School staff about these prevention programs. The message is clear. Prevention programs are an important and vital opportunity for schools and teachers to impact the social learning of their students in a profound way. Students can learn about forms of violence known to many of them, but kept as secrets, and how to manage these issues in their own lives. Programs are available for Pre-K through 12th-grade. Each age-appropriate curriculum guides students through a pyramid of learning skills, building step-by-step confidence as the information unfolds. Students interact with each other as well as their teachers. Then they take the information home and continue the conversation with parents
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and caregivers. Being able to identify signs and traits of domestic violence and sexual assault is important for all ages, but it can be crucial for teenagers and pre-teens starting to date and developing relationships for the first time. Safe Dates is a national program for grades 9-12, which targets attitudes and behaviors associated with dating abuse and violence. CAV compressed the program into four hour-long sessions to better fit a classroom setting within local schools. The program teaches characteristics of healthy relationships youth need to know to find allies in prevention and intervention of domestic violence and sexual assault. The statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2015, are startling: “Twenty-one percent of high school girls have been physically or sexually assaulted by someone they dated. Ten percent of high school boys also report being physically or sexually assaulted by a dating partner.” Teens who experience dating violence are at a much higher risk for suicide, bullying, alcohol and drug use, fighting, carrying a weapon and having multiple unprotected sexual partners. Without knowing who or where they can turn for safety, the majority of teens who are abused hide that fact from their parents and peers. Harwood says, “After attending previous CAV presentations, many educators say they wish someone had given them this presentation
Pictured: Community Educator Leah Trujillo and CAV Prevention Director Anthony Harwood at the CAV offices.
when they were their students’ age. Now, as adults, they can identify behaviors considered normal or not acceptable in any relationship.” CAV programs on healthy relationships are available for all ages. VOZ, pre-K-grade 5, focuses on feelings and emotions, personal boundaries, respect, asking for help, identifying safe adults, good/bad and secret touches, the concepts of surprises, privacy and passwords, and encourages learning correct names for all body parts to help prevent sexual abuse. PODER, grades 6-8, focuses on understanding media messages, body awareness and acceptance, and tolerance. Students learn about respect, personal boundaries, conflict resolution, communication skills, consent, anger and emotions, healthy relationships and resources for help. VECINOS is an adult program for organizations and businesses that provides information on cultural influences and power dynamics, defines child sexual abuse and explains how to respond to disclosures of abuse, what the red flags are in the behavior of both survivors and perpetrators, where community resources can be found and how to report abuse. CAV is located at 945 Salazar Road, (575) 758-8082. The 24-hour crisis hotline is (575) 758-9888. For more information, go to taoscav. org. To discuss prevention programs for your class or business, contact Anthony Harwood or Leah Trujillo at CAV, (575) 758-8082.