Breaking Silence delivers an interactive exhibit to a community to create a unique perspective on interpersonal violence (IPV). Interpersonal violence is a term used to describe a variety of crimes such as domestic violence, adult sexual assault, childhood sexual assault, and stalking. The majority of people know that IPV is present and actively occurring in our society, but few know the extent to which these crimes have proliferated our culture. For example, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience an attempted sexual assault before they reach the age of 18 and 3 in 4 Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. These are more than statistics, they are individuals: a person who is a brother, a sister, a friend, a lover, or a parent.
By using the stories of those who have been impacted by interpersonal violence, Breaking Silence is able to present their stories in an individual and powerful way. Each participant is provided with an audio player and is invited to listen to the story of a survivor while walking through the setting that brings certain aspects of their experience to life. By recreating the familiar worlds of a dorm room, a kitchen, or a family room the imagery that is painted in ones mind allows for the establishment of active empathy that empowers participants to end our current culture of abuse.
Creating a Healed Culture
Breaking Silence is creating a space for survivors to share their stories in a healing and impactful way. This display of courage by others will pave the way for a dialogue around IPV to begin in our culture, give people techniques for responding to survivors, offer information on community support centers, and inform participants on the process that many go through after experiencing IPV. Survivors are leading by example to break the silence and reverse the current trends with a healed culture.
Alli Watt, Executive Director
Alli Watt graduated from CSU with a degree in History Education and has been an advocate since she was 16. Intermixed throughout her working career have been experiences where she taught young children, managed employees, and most significantly created the exhibit that is the hallmark program of Breaking Silence. In 2014, she was invited by Robert Hammond, the Commissioner of Education, to be the representative for the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) on the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB). The SOMB’s primary goal is to create standards that improve community safety and protects citizens.
As a teacher, Alli learned the importance of giving people a reason to learn. In order to shape people’s minds and make a difference there has to be a clear, obtainable goals insight. As a program director, Alli used her creativity and organizational skills to create an exhibit that was only made possible by gathering volunteers, making partnerships with advocacy centers, and motivating college students to attend an intense and powerful event on their free time.
Finally, as an advocate Alli developed first responder skills such as active listening, empathy, and the necessary understanding needed to help victims process through their experience. These experiences have contributed to the creation of Breaking Silence and through continuous empowerment, collaboration, and dedication will assist in the fulfillment of our mission.