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Domestic Violence Prevention & Education in Fresno County, Part 2

IN THE January 17 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andHelping Hands,
andKathy Eide Casas
SECTIONS

by Kathy Eide Casas

Domestic violence is not fair. It is blind to socioeconomic status and colorblind to ethnicities and cultures.

Domestic violence leaves scars, some plainly visible, even though the physical injuries may have long ago healed. Some scars cannot be seen at all. They are invisible to the eye, but can always be felt in the heart and the mind.

The Marjaree Mason Center defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behaviors whereby one party intimidates, coerces, restricts, and/or controls the other. It can include emotional abuse, physical violence, sexual abuse, and economic deprivation.MMC logo

Domestic violence can occur between spouses, ex-spouses, current or former boyfriends and girlfriends, roommates, and people who have children together. Domestic violence can include intimate partner violence, elder abuse and child abuse. However, people most often associate the term “domestic violence” with intimate partner violence.

Currently, the Marjaree Mason Center operates the county’s only domestic violence shelters. The center was founded in 1979 after the murder of Marjaree Mason, a native of Easton. A graduate of Washington High School and Reedley College, Marjaree lived in Fresno for 31 years and was well known in the community. At the time of her death she was completing her degree in business administration at California State University, Fresno and was employed by the National Economic Development Association. She was a member of the National Council of Negro Women, the Ujima Ladies Group, Big Sisters of Fresno, the Nation Association of Women in Construction and St. Rest Baptist Church. The Center was named in her honor with the approval of her parents.*

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Marjaree Mason Center, became involved with the Center in 1995, when she was a sergeant with the Sheriff’s department. At that time, she wrote the first Domestic Violence grant for the Sheriff’s office, which they were subsequently awarded. This grant funded two detectives and, for the first time ever, a Victim’s Advocate. She is especially proud of that grant, and what it represented, as it was the first time the Sheriff’s office had a Victim’s Advocate and the results were clearly noticeable. She explained, “After that grant came in, I truly understood the importance of the Victim’s Advocate actually being in the office with the detectives.

Many times, with Domestic Violence cases, it’s common for victims to be fearful to move forward. However, the Advocate really helped the victims through the court process and, just as important, helped them to understand the cycle of violence.” Today, the Victim’s Advocate is part of the comprehensive team that provides an array of services and education through the MMC. The Fresno County Sherriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit consists of one Deputy Sheriff Detective and a Victim’s Advocate who is assigned full-time through the Marjaree Mason Center.

sheriff

Sheriff Margaret Mims

Some of the services currently offered at the Center, include housing, legal assistance, resources on how women can begin supporting themselves, connecting the women with agencies who can provide assistance with aid, clothing and necessities, and in many instances, can help them prepare for job interviews.

The Center itself is funded through a combination of generous supporters, grants and other funding streams. Funding remains a constant challenge and the need remains steady. Think for a moment about what you or a member of your family would need if you were shuffled out of your home in the middle of the night. The answer is – just about everything.

On their website, mmcenter.org, there is a wish list of items that are always in need, as well as other opportunities for anyone to become involved with the Center.

Please visit the site if you or someone you know needs help, however, if you are in immediate danger and/or need to report an incident of domestic violence, please call 911 immediately. For all other inquiries related to domestic violence, contact your local sheriff’s office or police department. For further victim assistance contact the Marjaree Mason Center at mmcenter.org.

* Source: MMC website

Did You Know?
• Over 600,000 women in the United States experience violence or physical abuse by their intimate partners each year.

• Young women between the ages of 16 and 34 are at the highest risk for domestic violence.

• Many students are not aware that verbal and emotional abuse are indicators of domestic violence. Many victims report that emotional abuse is more devastating than physical abuse.

• The Bureau of Justice Statistics confirms that the highest rate of domestic violence applies to women ages 16 to 24.

• Men can be victims, and women can batter. Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence can also occur in same-sex relationships.Cycle of Violence 1

• People who resort to violence do not lack self-control, and are not “out of control” due to poor anger management, stress, or substance abuse. Batterers have learned to use abuse to get what they want. They choose violence as a means to maintain power and control over their partner.

• Violence is a learned behavior, and it can be unlearned.

• Bad relationships do not result in or cause domestic violence.

• The victim never does anything to provoke the violence. The batterer chooses to abuse, and must take full responsibility for the abuse.

{Source: California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) Resource Guide, 2006}

Check out our interview with Genelle Taylor Kumpe, Executive Director of the Marjoree Mason Center that went up last week.

Kathy Eide Casas Kathy Eide Casas is a valley native and has been involved in politics, public policy and public relations her entire career. From the U. S. and state capitols to local projects, she has been a guiding force. Most recently, Eide-Casas completed the writing for two U Turns Allowed magazines, benefiting Focus Forward. Additionally, her work has run in several other local publications, including Valley Health Magazine.

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