This Valentine’s Day, Jimmy’s an American Restaurant and Bar is teaming up with a local nonprofit to host one of the hundreds of parties being held around the world to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence.
The parties are taking place on behalf of an international movement called One Billion Rising, which formed 15 years ago to combat violence against women.
Rachel Langsam, a local women’s advocate, came up with the idea to host a party in Aspen after she heard about the One Billion Rising movement on social media sites. One out of every three women is a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse in their lifetime and that translates to 1 billion women globally, Langsam said.
Hosting a party encourages people to take a stand on the issue, which is often ignored because of how difficult it is to discuss, she said. The cause is particularly timely due to the push for women’s empowerment in places like India over the past year, she said.
“People are saying enough is enough,” Langsam said. “And this is a positive way to speak out.”
About three weeks ago, Langsam approached restaurant owner Jimmy Yeager with the idea to host a party and raise funds for Response and he offered his restaurant as a venue, she said.
Response, which was founded in 1983, supports victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Roaring Fork Valley. It offers 24-hour crisis intervention, emergency housing, counseling, support groups in English and Spanish and referrals.
In the past year alone, the number of clients that the nonprofit serves has increased by over 100 percent from about 300 to 649, said Lauren Mbereko, executive director of Response.
Mbereko attributes the rise in clients to new stresses on families in light of the Great Recession. There is a growing demand for services to respond to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the valley and in the meantime, the city is considering cutting funding to the program, she said.
“It just seems crazy to us,” Mbereko said about the funding cuts. “It’s very hard to deal with when we know the numbers of clients are going up.”
Mbereko hopes that Thursday’s fundraiser will bring in $5,000 for the nonprofit, but over the long term Response will have to make up for at least $15,000 if the city decides to reduce its support, she said.
The party will start at 10 p.m. on Thursday featuring beats spun by DJ Mayfly. There is a $20 door charge that will be donated to Response and the price includes a cocktail. Starting at 5:30 p.m. there will also be a $100 prix-fixe menu in the dining room, with $50 going to Response, and a $30 bar menu option, which includes a drink ticket and door fee. Half of that will be donated to Response.