Almost every week in the Crested Butte News, we publish police blotters from our three public safety organizations—the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office, the Mt. Crested Butte Police and the Crested Butte Marshals.
People always tell me the blotters are among their favorite parts of the paper and the first thing they read, followed by letters to the editor, the columns and Free Will Astrology.
People love the blotters because they contain tales of hokey small-town crimes that remind us we live in a safe place where shepherding drunken bar patrons seems to be the primary occupation for police officers. We’re a community plagued with the tendency to leave our keys in the ignition, park our cars on the wrong side of the street during winter plowing and let our dogs run off-leash.
However, careful readers of Busted in the Butte, Mountain Mischief and Sheriff’s Stories can discern a darker tale—one of domestic violence. Since November 1, 10 cases of domestic violence were recorded in these columns, with several occurring in the Crested Butte area. There were 134 domestic violence cases and 21 sexual assault cases in Gunnison County in 2007.
According to a detailed report in Mother Jones magazine, nationally, 73 percent of domestic violence victims are women and girls. In Gunnison County, that number jumps to an astonishing 90 percent. According to a survey conducted at Western State College, 31 percent of female students surveyed responded "yes" to feeling emotionally pressured into sex, and 4 percent responded "yes" when asked if they had been raped while attending school.
The fact is, not everyone feels safe in our community.
This week, we recognize domestic violence and violence against women has no place in Gunnison County, with the celebration of V-Day. In its 10th year, the V-Day movement is aimed at ending violence against women and girls worldwide through education.
To help us celebrate, Provocateur Productions will present  Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues on Thursday, February 7 and Friday, February 8 at the Mallardi Cabaret. To learn more about the performance and movement, check out reporter Jenifer Doane’s story about it on page 26.
Crested Butte’s V-Day celebration has grown exponentially in the past few years and the tickets can be the hottest in town. If you’re not lucky enough to get one, please still support the two groups that all proceeds will benefit—the Sexual Assault Prevention Advocates (SAPA) on the Western State College campus, and Jubilee House in Gunnison. The work these organizations do is incredibly important to this valley.
Domestic violence shouldn’t be among our regular reading in the Crested Butte News. The statistics don’t have to continue. This week we say “No more.”
Happy V-Day.
—Aleesha Towns

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