K.A.W.S. task force was created December of 2017. Since then, we have initiated and accomplished many significant projects, and the work continues. Addressing violence against Women in all it’s forms is a huge undertaking, and the need for our presence has been completely supported. Ashland Women experience harassment, stalking, luring from cars, drugging, rape and assault. Only approximately 1~2% of all Women state wide report sexual assault and for valid reasons. We are working diligently to address the roots, causes and effects of this violence as well as changes to the system. We are accomplishing great things. We are growing in recognition. Our latest facebook posts reached 1600 people with 120+ post engagements. Word is out and the need validated repeatedly. Receiving many thank you’s and expressions of appreciation from the community is a daily occurrence.
- We have offered three public events: One Informational event with talks from Ashland Police Department (APD) Chief O’Meara, Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Community Works, Ashland Culture of Peace Commission and ending with community question/ answer and discussion. We have also engaged one Empowerment Training,and one Deep Dive into Dialogue about our experiences with violence from both Women and Men.
- We continue to develop rapport and relationships with top APD officers as well as City Council, SART, Community Works, AAUW, Peace House, ACPC and tv news, radio, print media to represent the voice of Women, the need for a change in systems, more education, context, as well as to wake people up to the significant ongoing presence of violence. This includes ongoing in depth conversations from the Women’s perspective regarding assault, rape, harassment, and much more. These relationships we are building are valuable and are a true avenue for change from the inside out. Below is a list of just some of the items we have made significant changes to and positive impact on in our community.
- We are working to change the causes of negative associations and experiences with reporting and update the public on what is working well as well as what still needs improvement.
- We brought to APD an expanded version brochure of information and services given to people who report sexual assault. This is now being used by APD.
- We continue to solicit ongoing feedback on the physical survey of locations in Ashland that feel unsafe or have been threatening with feedback to APD and followup action by them.
- We hold countless conversations in many forms serving as intermediary between citizens and APD with their request and permission and when the case specifically allows this, and as a result APD may take another look and make another contact.
- We continue to notify APD on locations including parking areas that need cameras and lighting for enhanced safety.
- We obtained fiscal sponsorship to receive tax deductible donations, and then continued with the success of becoming an Incorporated Registered 501c3 Nonprofit Organization.
- Performed numerous contacts from community for referrals to services e.g. Advocates, police people, etc and follow through to ensure service delivery.
- Invested countless hours are being dedicated to create heightening awareness, education representation and understanding of the challenges while working to inspire and create better understanding and improved services. Public relations has included several tv news stations, print and radio.
- We successfully worked with a local business that had no photo identification for their technicians when visiting homes for service calls. Women need to be able to take a pic of complete identification and verify this service person with the home office. Through our contact with the business owner and supported by a city council person, picture identification and verification systems are now in place.
- We are working within systems and in the community everywhere and every way for much needed change. It’s constant, strategic, intense, meaningful and important.
Please note: We are not first responders. On our Resources page we have phone numbers for first response with 24-hour trained Advocates to help. Also we are not police people, attorneys or court trained advocates. There are agencies and individuals with the expertise to apply their vast knowledge to specific situations and we appropriately refer people to them. If more is felt to be needed from those contacts for whatever reason, we want to hear so we can help however possible. This is one of our primary specializations. We urge individuals to follow through with referrals and if needed, K.A.W.S. can help mediate and advocate in ways that would best serve the particular circumstance.
Further Actions and Your Donations: Keeping Ashland Women Safe Task Force has both short and long term goals for the donations we receive, as follows.
- We expect to hold a comprehensive Panel of Experts in 2019 to address how our culture, the system and the media/technology are continuing the oppression and violence against all who identify as Women, inclusively. This will hold a tone of solution with breakout workshops for empowerment and self defense, sensitivity training and brainstorming.
- We will be introducing our ideas for new forms of visible emergency systems within the Ashland layout and working with the city departments to actualize their establishment.
- K.A.W.S. intends to address the rape culture within our schools.
- We also plan to continue facilitating our Deep Dialogue events with men in our community who have expressed interest in listening to the needs of Women at this time.
- We are actively involved in meeting with key political officials to help direct funding and legislative changes to equalize the judicial processes and create a statewide special task form to address violent crimes against Women.
- We intend to hire a grant writer for substantial ongoing financial support.
- We will add a store to our website for safety prevention tools free of charge such as pocket sirens, also bumper stickers, pendants and more.
- Offering instructional town hall meetings with key change makers is essential to creating a community that sends the No Violence message in the most effective ways.
- We intend to travel to Salem to lobby for a statewide special task form to address violent crimes against
Women. We intend to connect with the National Agenda to help ensure specific potent action.
- With donations, we hope to support projects with hourly part time financial compensation.