Orange was the new black at Greeley City Council’s meeting on Nov. 23, filled with Zonta club members sporting their signature hue.
Mayor John Gates declared the 16 days between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10 as 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Dec. 10 marks International Human Rights Day.
President of the Greeley Zonta Club and former UNC psychology professor Susan Bromley was present to accept the proclamation along with other Zonta club members. Bromley presented sobering facts to city council regarding gender violence, domestic abuse and sex trafficking. In 2019 there were 70 deaths due to domestic violence across Colorado. This is an increase in deaths from both 2018 and 2017. Bromley also said that this trend will only continue due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Gender violence is a serious issue that Greeley residents face. This sort of violence damages the body and mind, creating serious repercussions. The Zonta club raises awareness of these issues, facilitates public discussions, and partners with local organizations to act. The Zonta club regularly partners with local universities in Northern Colorado to provide information and resources to students and staff. Anyone whose recently used the UNC restrooms might’ve seen one of their posters with information about human trafficking or domestic abuse.
In 2014, a study by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that 32.7% of Colorado women and 28.6% of Colorado men have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or stalking in their lifetime. In addition, 16,700 people reported one or more domestic violence crime to law enforcement in Colorado.
Zonta International works on the global level to fight for women’s rights and against gender violence. Members work providing international education programs and service projects to women and girls. These members even work with the United Nations to bring awareness to these issues of gender violence. Local Zonta clubs help bring this advocacy to smaller communities, including information on human trafficking.
“It can happen to everyone, no one is immune, whether you’re rich or poor. Human trafficking has no regard for socioeconomic situations,” said Bromley.
Bromley also says that college students are especially vulnerable to being trafficked. Northern Colorado residents might be surprised to hear that sex trafficking is prevalent in their own communities, but that’s why the Zonta club is trying to raise awareness.
Human trafficking is a serious threat to people in Northern Colorado. Greeley resident Paul Burman was sentenced to prison for 32 counts related to human trafficking in 2020. Burman trafficked women throughout northern Colorado and Nebraska from 2012 to 2014 when he was arrested. All together each sentence added up to 248 years in prison. In 2019, Greeley resident Noman Boroumand was arrested on suspicion of financial fraud, but more was uncovered after his arrest, including sex trafficking.
If you or anyone you know is in a dangerous situation there are resources available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is staffed 24 hours/day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-799-SAFE to talk to someone in over 200 languages. Every conversation is free and confidential. UNC students can also receive services at the Assault Survivors Advocacy Program at unco.edu/assault-survivors-advocacy-program/.