I want to tell you a true story. When opening our community office one day, a staff member noticed a woman crouched under a bush holding a baby. The staff member asked her to come in and rest. As it turns out, the woman had been beaten the night before. At about 2:00 am, with baby in arms she ran out of the house in fear for her life and the life of her child. She remembered seeing a sign for our office and decided to walk here. She placed her baby in an abandoned grocery cart and walked several miles, hiding every time she saw headlights coming at her.
When arriving at our office, she found a bush and crawled under it waiting for us to open. Her desperation and fear were palpable. She knew he would come looking. In our community office, we supplied her with food, clothing and baby items. We then took her to our shelter.
Why am I telling you this story? This week Juliet Williams from the Associated Press wrote in an article written Tuesday, September 8th, that six shelters closed their doors to victims of domestic violence and their children because of the elimination of domestic violence funding. It could happen here in Santa Clara County.
If you remember from my last post, the governor, without warning, completely eliminated the domestic violence funding program. It’s now a month later and we are beginning to see the effect of his use of unchecked power. The closings are directly related to the elimination of funding. There will be more as the months go by.
On the flip side, the story by Juliet Williams and media advocacy on the part of another program director brought in a $20,000 anonymous donation. Media advocacy works.
Please spread the word about this crisis facing domestic violence programs in CA. Ask friends and families to contact local programs to help in whatever way they can.
Spread the word. Senator Leland Yee introduced legislation to restore 80% of the funding using a different pot of money.
The above-mentioned story has a happy ending. The victim and her child received services and safety at our confidential shelter. We must guarantee that every family has the same opportunity to seek and secure safety when someone in their home is endangering them.
Associated Press / July 23, 2009
In July of this year the governor of CA completely eliminated the state domestic violence funding program. $16.3M statewide to serve battered women and their children was taken away with the stroke of a blue pen. For my agency, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence (www.nextdoor.org) $200K is lost, money used to fund shelter and hotline advocates/case managers, money to buy food and keep the lights on. I find a twisted irony in that the legislature enacted this funding program into law in 1994 after Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder. Fifteen years later, the governor eliminated this program as at least five women died at the hands of their batterers in Northern CA. Read more