Resilient Wyoming: Stories Of Community Response To Violence

Reporters Melodie Edwards and Tennessee Watson hosted a pop-up newsroom at the 3rd Annual Conference on Violence Prevention and Response. The conference drew together advocates from across the state, giving Edwards and Watson a chance to hear how violence is impacting Wyoming communities and the diversity of responses that are making a difference. The Resilient Wyoming series is the direct result of the story ideas and insights shared by those who attended the Wyoming Public Radio pop-up newsroom at the 3rd Annual Conference on Violence Prevention and Response.

Tennessee Watson

This is the second in a two-part series on this issue. To hear WPR Reporter Melodie Edward's story, click here.

Last year, Wyoming enacted legislation authorizing school districts to teach child sexual abuse prevention. Schools have a unique power to stop sexual abuse because kids spend so much time there. But the bill is not a mandate. It merely says school districts may do prevention work.

Melodie Edwards

This is the first in a two-part series on this issue. To hear WPR Education Reporter Tennessee Watson's follow up, click here.

Renee and her husband bought a home just outside Guernsey with plans to raise a family there. (We're not using their real names to protect children's identities.)

Melodie Edwards

This story is part of a two-part series on the effects of the Converse County energy boom on housing in Douglas. 

I knock on the door of an apartment in the one and only income-restricted apartment complex in Douglas. 29-year-old Elise shows me in. Petite with long dark hair and a friendly smile, she gives me a tour of the small apartment she shares with her two children. We're not using her last name to protect her from retaliation. I notice a sign on the living room wall that says, "Home Sweet Home," and for Elise, a home has never been so sweet as this one. About eighteen months ago, Elise left an abusive relationship with her children's father.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While the issue has received more and more attention, sexual assault is a crime that's still chronically under-reported across the nation. Concern about how the criminal justice system will respond is one of the top reasons victims say they don't report.

Joshua Galemore. Agency: Casper Star-Tribune


It's hard to accept, but child sexual abuse can happen in any community. Prosecuting these crimes means that kids have to disclose the details of what happened, and it's easier for them to do so when people are prepared to listen and intervene. Across Wyoming law enforcement, prosecutors and social services are teaming up to support child victims, but it hasn't always been that way.

Wyoming Legislature

Every year the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault gives out what they call PEACE awards ("promoting excellence in advocacy for change and empowerment"). Back in November, they gave one out for best leadership in policymaking. It went to six Wyoming lawmakers who worked to pass six news laws to better protect victims of violence.

Tennessee Watson


Sixteen years ago, the Cheyenne Police Department received a report that a former Catholic Bishop had sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s. The lead detective told the prosecutor there was no evidence and the case was closed. Earlier this year that case was reopened and multiple victims have since come forward. This second chance at justice reflects how law enforcement attitudes toward sexual abuse are starting to change.

Andrew Graham/WyoFile


Wyoming's prisons are exceeding capacity, and as a result, state prisoners are held indefinitely in county jails, and this past year the state paid to house 88 prisoners at a private facility in Mississippi. State lawmakers are at a crossroads: spend $50 million to house more prisoners or figure out how to reduce the incarceration rate. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with WyoFile reporter Andrew Graham to discuss his reporting on solutions to the problem.

Melodie Edwards

This week Wyoming Public Media engaged in a bit of an experiment. Reporters Tennessee Watson and Melodie Edwards set up a pop-up newsroom at the third annual Wyoming Conference for Violence Prevention and Response hosted in Riverton. They joined Caroline Ballard for a conversation about the newsroom and its goals.

Wyomingites working to reduce violence gathered this week for the 3rd Annual Conference for Violence Prevention and Response. A major portion of the conference was devoted to spreading awareness about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, or ACES for short.

yoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with Jennifer Davis from the Wyoming Children's Trust Fund and Todd Garrison from the Montana-based not-for-profit ChildWise to understand why ACES could make a difference in Wyoming.