“We arrived in Livingston on the 3:00 am bus.  My child and I were frightened to be in an unfamiliar place with only the clothes we were wearing.  ASPEN staff met us at the bus station and checked us into their emergency shelter—ASPEN House—which was warm, safe and secure.  While there, staff helped me begin to regain control of my life.”
                                                                                          ~ ASPEN House resident
A Texas study released in 2014 found of 34 intimate partner deaths in one year, all victims had one thing in common:  none of them reached out for help from a domestic violence advocacy organization prior to their death.  And while studying murder cases where 49 people in total had been killed, including children or parents of the intimate partner, it was found none of the victims had protective orders or had gone to a shelter. Only a few had ever gone to police, attorneys, or victim advocates.
Women were more likely to be killed by an intimate partner if they did not seek help.  Seeking help can literally save a life. 
Luckily, ASPEN is located right here in Park County and provides a 24-hour support line, an emergency shelter, and advocates who will assist victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault in a three-county area.  Our staff will assist with filing orders of protection, finding legal counsel, and we are proud of our working relationship with sheriff and police departments when a victim’s safety is at risk.  We literally are on the front lines saving lives.
And YOU are an important part of ASPEN’s ability to provide life-saving resources.  It is because of YOUR financial support that ASPEN is able to quickly and effectively address the needs of those in dangerous or violent situations.  
Please make your tax-deductible year-end gift to ASPEN now—Help us continue the life-saving services victims and survivors rely on.   We need your support.
Thank you and happy holidays,
Heidi Barrett
Executive Director  

Poinsettias Still Available! 

ASPEN still has several large poinsettias available to purchase.  Give us a call at 406-222-5902 or stop by 411 E Callender to purchase before Christmas. All proceeds go to supporting surivors and prevention education. 
 Call for Submission--Tell Your Story! 
The F-Word is a student support group run by ASPEN's Program and Prevention Coordinator, Abbie Bandstra.  The group calls its meetings RYOTS, standing for Reading, Yapping, Orchestrating, Teaching and Studying.  This group of students discusses intersecting topics of feminism, gender, sexuality, violence, community, politics, health, environment, healthy relationships and empowerment through discussion, guest speakers and activities. 
This year, students want to do more active work and are designing an event to bring awareness to their community and raise funds for new flooring at ASPEN's Safehouse.  This event is The Livingston Monologues, a night of performances written by students and community members of Park County surrounding topics of gender, relationships, sexuality and everything in between.  The group is now accepting monologue submissions.  They can be any varied length, performed in a group, function as poetry, song, limerick--whatever tells your story! Please submit and share.  Email submissions and questions to abbie@aspenmt.org. 

Survivors can face an increased risk during the holiday season

This year, as you hang the twinkling lights and decorate your mantel with sprigs of holly, remember that not everyone has gotten the message that it’s a season of peace. Unfortunately, the holidays can be an even more dangerous time than normal for those at risk for domestic violence.
From the financial stress of gift buying to an overall increase in alcohol consumption, to a flurry of emotions—and sometimes stress—that accompany a plethora of family togetherness time, there are many reasons why the chance of intimate partner violence can increase during the holidays. 
2005 study that reviewed police incident reports in Idaho found that New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were dates where total domestic violence reports were higher than the normal daily average, while on Christmas Eve and Day there were drops in the number of reports. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports a five to 25 percent decrease in calls throughout the holiday season (Dec. 15 to Jan. 1), differing from the Idaho study somewhat, followed by a five percent uptake in calls after the holidays. 
Whether survivors don’t want to disturb family cohesiveness on these days, or can’t find a private time to make a call for support, advocates say the decline in calls isn’t necessarily an indication that violence ceases on these days, reporting that calls will often increase above normal levels the days and weeks following a holiday. Many times, say advocates, survivors of abuse don’t want to disturb family rituals or separate children from their family during a holiday, regardless of abuse that may be occurring.
What can you do? If you’re currently with an abusive partner, reach out to a trained domestic violence advocate—you can find one near you by entering your city or ZIP on domesticshelters.org Find Help page or for Livingston, visit www.aspenmt.org for services and information.  And, remember, you don’t need to figure out an escape plan right away—you can simply call to talk. If you can’t call safely from home, call from a trusted friend’s house, your doctor’s office or a public library.
If you suspect someone in your life is the victim of an abusive partner, watch for red flags, such as possessiveness, rigid gender roles, and overt control of deliberately humiliating one’s partner in front of others. To support a victim, The Hotline advises friends and family members be non-judgmental and supportive. 
“Don’t tell them what they need to do. Don’t badmouth the abuser. It’s also important to remember that friends and family should take precautions to make sure they remain safe. Sometimes when word gets back to the abuser that a friend or family member is offering advice or asking questions about the abuse, they could be putting themselves in danger.”
From domestichshelters.org
FOR HELP CALL ASPEN'S 24/7 Support Line: 406-222-8154

Change your Amazon Smile to support ASPEN!

Shop for everyone on your gift list this holiday at http://smile.amazon.com/ch/81-0534941 and Amazon donates to ASPEN Abuse Support & Prevention Education Network. #YouShopAmazonDonates

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