Monday, October 5, 2015

Going Beyond Awareness to Understanding — In October, the Golden State Turns Purple

By Jessica Merrill, Communications & Development Manager at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence

You’ve probably heard this familiar statistic: one in four women has experienced domestic violence. But what knowledge should you know to truly understand what survivors go through? To stand with survivors, ensuring that we create a culture where they are supported, believed and protected, it’s essential that we listen to their experiences and gain a nuanced understanding of the ways they’re marginalized.

For example, did you know that teens in abusive relationships are more likely to struggle academically? If we think about the many ways this has consequences in the lives of California’s youth, one solution becomes clear—school policies should address adolescent dating abuse and offer support to those who are affected by it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From Victim to Survivor: The Path to Healing

By Christina Newby, Volunteer, Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence

While more and more people are beginning to understand that escaping a domestic violence relationship can be extremely difficult, it is also important to understand that the path to healing is equally challenging. Often, the survivor is in a state of crisis immediately following her escape. Her entire life has been turned on its head, and she is frantically searching for safety and stability. Even worse, she is trying to understand it all: “Why did I choose him? Why did he abuse me? What did I do wrong? What could I have done to make it work? How could he act like that if he said he loved me?” The questions seem endless.

Too often victims get caught up trying to fix the past. They try to understand the abuse, make sense of the abuser’s behavior. It’s normal and healthy to grieve the end of a relationship. But it’s impossible to change the past. And it’s impossible to change another person, especially an abuser.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Q-Spot: A Safe Place for All

By Alysia Angel, Youth Program Coordinator, Sacramento LGBT Community Center

The Sacramento LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Community Center creates events, programs, and services that help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people feel welcome, needed, and safe. One such program is called the Q-Spot.

The Q-Spot provides a safe place for LGBT kids to have access to meals and games, serving as a place to make friends while learning new skills. Located at 1927 L Street in Sacramento, the Q-Spot is small but affirming and inviting for youth that don't often receive affirmation for their sexual orientation or gender presentation. The staff and volunteers are trained to meet youth where they are, using harm reduction and empathy to understand what the youth need in that unique moment.

Between 200-250 youth visit the Q-Spot weekly for various services such as showers, food, much needed rest, laundry, and mental health respite. The Q-Spot is dedicated to maintaining community relationships, relying heavily on other organizations such as Wind Youth Services and The Gender Health Center to help serve Sacramento’s youth in the most loving and compassionate way possible.

Unfortunately, sexual assault and domestic violence happen in the LGBT community, too. When someone visits the Q-Spot because of sexual assault or domestic violence, the staff takes time to listen with compassion. They make sure the victim knows that they are valued and heard. Staff can also help victims find more resources in the community to aid them in their road to recovery.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Volunteers in Victim Assistance

It’s not like a job interview where you are able to prepare yourself for the future. You will never expect it to happen to you, and when it does, you probably won’t be prepared or mentally stable for the coming days, months, and years. No one expects to be a victim of violent crime, but in the unfortunate circumstance that violent crime does happen, Volunteers in Victim Assistance (VIVA) will be here for you.

“They can’t function, they can’t work, they can’t do anything,” says VIVA Executive Director Carole McDonald of crime victims. “They can be at a grocery store with a cart full of groceries and it hits, he’s never coming back again. The reality of what happened hits and that’s when they really need help.”

Located at 2020 Hurley Way in Sacramento, VIVA has been in operation under McDonald’s care for 32 years.

Crisis intervention, counseling, individual, family and group therapy, and advocacy are a few of the main services that VIVA offers. Their goal is to offer advocacy and therapy to anyone who walks through their door.

“They [victims] come in right after the crime takes place,” McDonald says. “They’re very confused, in shock, in the midst of funeral costs, and they have post-traumatic stress disorder. It takes a while to sink in.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Culture of Respect

By Allison Tombros Korman, Executive Director, Culture of Respect

An estimated one in five undergraduate women and one in sixteen undergraduate men experience attempted or completed sexual assault while attending college. Campus sexual assault is a decades-old problem affecting millions of young American women and men — a problem which is finally receiving the national attention it merits.

Many of the pieces necessary to change the culture on college and university campuses are in place. Pressure from survivors, student activists, the White House, the Justice and Education Departments, state governments, the press, documentary film makers, parents and the public have focused attention and demands on colleges and universities to acknowledge and deal with the problem of campus sexual assault. Colleges and universities should embrace this moment of awareness and combat campus sexual assault holistically and head-on.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The San Diego Family Justice Center: Providing Help and Hope to Victims of Family Violence

By the San Diego Family Justice Center

What do cancer and domestic violence have in common? Both are things you don’t want, erode your quality of life and are challenging issues without a single cure-all.

Fortunately, there’s good news. Just as modern cancer centers are staffed with highly trained oncologists and support specialists, a Family Justice Center attacks domestic violence in the same way; by treating the cause, not the symptoms — all in one location.

Founded in 2002, the San Diego Family Justice Center, located at 1122 Broadway, Suite 200 in downtown San Diego, is the first center in the world to co-locate all DV-related services under one roof. With the need to travel to multiple locations eliminated, this model significantly reduces the possibility of someone receiving conflicting advice from different service professionals.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crime Victims' Rights Month: Commemorating 50 Years of Victim Services

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

Every April, the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) stands with our partners across the state in observance of California Crime Victims’ Rights Month, a time set aside for our state to show support for victims of violent crime, their families, and survivors. This year is even more significant as CalVCP commemorates its 50th year of serving victims of violent crime in California. And through our fifty years, we have been proud to have such great partners throughout the state to aid in providing services, protecting victims’ rights, and making a difference in the lives of thousands of victims of crime. Since 1965, CalVCP has provided over $2.3 billion in services, and we will continue to work with our partners to provide these services for our great state and the people who need them. It is fitting that this year’s theme is “Engaging Communities, Empowering Victims,” as it certainly reflects California’s commitment to increasing community awareness of crime victim issues and examining prevention and safety.

As a community, we must come together to ensure that victims and survivors of violent crime know they are not alone and that their community stands with them. People who have been impacted by violent crime should know that there is help available. We can all work together to ensure that those who commit a crime face justice. As a community, we will ensure that victims and survivors receive the care they need. We must educate those around us about the immediate and long-term impacts of crime and how we can better prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place. By engaging entire communities, we can better extend victim service resources to where they need to be and serve those who need them.