My turn: Advocates, victims need our support

Amber Hamilton, the most feared player in our noon-time hoops group, is director of ARISE (Advocating, Reassuring, Informing, Supporting, Empowering) Sexual Assault Services.

ARISE provides medical, advocacy and counseling services in Roosevelt, Curry, Quay, DeBaca, Harding and Lea counties.

“One in four women and one in six men will experience sexual violence at sometime,” says Amber.

“Sexual assault is not about attire or physical attributes. Perpetrators seek out victims that they can over-power and control.”

This often includes incest.

Local victims of sexual assault have ranged from six months to over 90.

Out of hundreds of cases in her five-plus years with ARISE, only two were fabricated.

“Victims of sexual assault suffer one of the most personal, violent crimes a person can survive.

“A sexual assault takes the most private and precious thing from a human being without permission,” says Amber. “It is devastating.”

The job also takes a toll on staff and volunteers.

“As a team we support each other. It is imperative to keep staff and volunteers healthy in this difficult work.

“It’s easy to take it home with you, but that’s not fair to yourself or your family. We must let go and leave work at work.”

To report an assault or volunteer for upcoming training sessions, contact Amber at 575-226-4665 or amber@arisenm.org.