Keeping Ashland Women Safe Task Force is working in the community in numerous ways. Our overarching mission is to inspire and ignite community involvement so that individually and as a community the message is loud and clear: Zero Tolerance for Violence, Not In Our City.
This brings the question: “What is our individual and community responsibility to one another.” We hold events of deep dialogue with Women as well as Women and Men together to discuss the aspects of roles that are changing and emotions, experiences, insights and agreements.
We work closely with Ashland Police Department (APD) in ongoing discussions about several things. We serve as an intermediary when a member of the community has contacted us and wonders if they can report a circumstance, wonders what happened to their report, or would like the department to take another look and speak to involved parties again. Please note that we can only do this with permission from the individual who reported or experienced the threat or violence, and not in cases of children.
We are in communication with Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART,) and our roles are different. We are not first responders, and to see a description of SART and their action in the community, please see the Resources page on this website.
We are often contacted through the very large facebook group of Ashland Peeps in threads when a Woman is reporting violence or threat of violence. In these instances we may enter the thread with those involved or request that we be contacted through the private message features on our facebook page. We can then ascertain what is the best resource and avenue for the specific situation. We also initiate these contacts when the discussion topics are relevant to our work in the community. Please note that we are not attorneys nor police people. We have good relationships and collaborate successfully with the Chief of Police, Deputy Chief, and Lieutenant.
We have also been instrumental in an expanded brochure of information given to all who report sexual assault.
An ongoing physical survey of Ashland is in place that we initiated wherein Women tell us areas of the city that they are experiencing problems such as being followed or harassed, or where they feel unsafe due to lack of lighting or other reasons. We forward this information to APD who then acts to find out what may be done such as extra patrols or contacting the city or owners of private parking areas.
We are developing relationships with our city officials such as City Council, Representatives and Oregon Senators in order to bring the importance of safety and equality for Women and lobby for funding to help cure the space shortage problems in the jails, plea bargaining as well as changes to the city that will help further the safety of Women. Changes to legislature is another important aspects of our task force in order to create a more just system for Women.
We work with local businesses for improved safety measures in particular when sending in-home service people to ensure that proper identification and validation can be shown to the Woman, as well as other systems that enhance safety.
We bring empowerment trainings to the Women of Ashland. We are in the process of expanding the resources for these trainings, as well as trauma recovery professionals and other safety prevention and response trainings, and with with leaders in the culture changing fields. We intend to bring all this to the community.
We have plans to create these expansive workshops, lobby for changes in legislature, to add a store to our website and offer pocket sirens free of charge, and continue our media campaign to increase awareness of the reality of present violence in Ashland. While we want all Women to walk in confidence and enjoy the wonderful life in this special city. We believe that increased awareness and empowerment is key to this, for knowledge is power.