DV Does Happen Here

Privilege Doesn’t Protect

This is one of an occasional post from Margaret Epperheimer, an eight-year member of Next Door’s Board of Directors.

The tuxedoed Magnolia Jazz Band played in the gazebo. The guests sipped donated champagne and sampled white wine from The Plumed Horse and noshed on hors d’oeuvres provided by Casa de Cobre. It was, after all, a lovely April evening in downtown Saratoga, and the gathering in the courtyard next to Preston Wynne Spa to benefit the less fortunate was not out of the ordinary for this well-heeled community.

But wait. The less fortunate … in Saratoga and nearby Los Gatos? Peggy Wynne Borgman, Preston Wynne’s founder, welcomed attendees and told them why she – 10 years ago – became involved with Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence. Domestic violence knows no socio-economic boundaries. One out three American women will find herself in an abusive relationship in her lifetime, according to Peggy. She has seen it up-close-and-personal in her business, catering to women of means. She is passionate about the topic and the cause. She is determined to make a difference – in her community and throughout Santa Clara County.

That also goes for The Summit League of Saratoga, the 50-year-old non-profit organization that’s committed to raising funds for education, health, welfare and the arts. That group announced it has designated Next Door and its innovative teen POWER Program (Proud of Wanting Equal Relationships) as beneficiary of its biennial fundraising house tour. Held in late November, The Summit League’s “Homes for the Holidays” always sells out. You won’t be able to get tickets until this fall, but it’s a must-do event, featuring several incredible homes in the Saratoga/Los Gatos area decorated for the holidays by top professional decorators and floral designers who have donated their time and talent.

At the Saratoga event, Next Door Executive Director Kathleen Krenek mentioned statistics that back-up the “yes, it DOES happen here” theme. Since December 2011, Next Door has partnered with the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department to provide joint services to victims of domestic violence, thanks to a $125,000 grant from the California Emergency Management Agency. The innovative partnership involves training 48 law enforcement and 911 dispatchers to implement safe protocols for victims and increase accountability of batterers. Next Door provides a fully-trained domestic violence advocate for every time police officers are called to a domestic violence incident. The going-in projection was 70 incidents a year. So far – less than 6 months into the partnership – the Next Door advocate has responded to more than 50 incidents in this wealthy jurisdiction. One of Next Door’s most active support groups for domestic violence victims is located in Los Gatos, adjacent to Saratoga.

Kathleen Krenek famously wrote about Ed Daou, an affluent developer in Los Gatos, who killed himself and his son last summer after his abused wife, Carmen, left him and obtained a protective restraining order. Kathleen’s plea was published last August in the San Jose Mercury News: “If we accept that domestic violence is a community issue, that we should talk about it in our classrooms, in our homes, with our children and our family and friends, then I’m hopeful we can prevent more fathers from killing their sons.”  Amen.  Ask Next Door how you can help stop violence before it starts. The Next Door hot line is 408-279-2962.

Here are a couple of pictures from the Saratoga event.

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