Yolo County resolution and organizations raise awareness for domestic violence
By YAN YAN HUSTIS HAYES — email@example.com
On Oct. 12, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors signed a draft to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The District Attorney (DA)’s office will also host an office-wide clothing drive to benefit Empower Yolo.
Yolo County DA Violence Against Women Act advocate Dessi Munoz explained that this most recent resolution is a direct result of the Victims Services program.
“The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office Victim Services Program has been raising awareness and educating the community in regards to domestic violence for over 13 years,” Munoz said via email. “One of the ways we have been raising awareness is by submitting a resolution to the Board of Supervisors annually.”
The clothing drive is an important resource for survivors who have to leave domestic violence situations, according to Munoz.
“Sometimes when a survivor has to leave a domestic violence relationship, they leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Munoz said. “Empower Yolo has a clothing closet where survivors can go to obtain clothing for themselves and their children’s shoes and personal hygiene items.
Munoz explained that community work is important to the Yolo County DA’s office as it supports, develops and implements prevention strategies that target change in society.
“Being out in the community gives us the opportunity to educate underserved communities about the criminal justice process so they can have a better understanding of the system,” Munoz said. “This can lead to victims reporting their abuse to law enforcement and therefore, getting help or intervention in their current situation, which is ultimately what we are hoping for.”
Munoz recommends that Yolo County residents who want to get involved should look to programs like Hear Us Yolo.
“[Hear Us Yolo] was created with the District Attorney Office to help victims and survivors come together to educate the public about victimization and victim service resources,” Munoz said. “It provides victims of crime to have the opportunity to become participants and members of Hear Us Yolo and having their voices heard.”
Empower Yolo Associate Director Celia Alveraz explained that survivors can come to the resource center in Downtown Davis and identified UC Davis CARE as a good student-geared program.
“Empower Yolo provides free counseling services, support groups, legal advocacy, housing advocacy, peer counseling and more to all survivors,” Alveraz said via email. “Additional resources for UC Davis students can be found by contacting the UC Davis CARE program to be connected to a confidential advocate.”
My Sister’s House Executive Director Nilda Valamores explained that the Sacramento-based nonprofit has been helping victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking for over 20 years.
“Our mission is to serve Asian and Pacific Islander and other underserved women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking,” Valamores said via email. “[We] provide a culturally appropriate and responsive safe haven, job training, and community services, legal services, counseling and job training and support.”
Valamores stressed that culturally responsive services are critical to help begin the healing and rebuilding process.
“Because culture often contributes to the impact of domestic violence, it must also be included in the healing part,” Valamores said. “Quality culturally responsive services reflect everything from the outreach to the intervention to the evaluation.”
Many services are designed to support this community, although My Sister’s House helps all communities, according to Valamores.
“Our outreach is focused on the Asian/Pacific Islander community; we make extra efforts to have bi-lingual Asian/Pacific Islanders available to answer our 24/7 helpline,” Valamores said. “Our shelter is uniquely designed for Asian/Pacific Islanders, reflecting everything from size, to decoration, food, and staffing, and our programs recognize the needs of Asian/Pacific Islanders.”
Valamores advised those who may be experiencing domestic violence to remove themselves from the situation.
“If you don’t, it results in long term emotional, physical and financial stress and trauma for yourself and your children,” Valamores said. “Take all threats seriously.
If someone is experiencing or maybe experiencing domestic violence or cares about someone who is, they should come to My Sister’s House events, like our Run for a Safe Haven, or call our 24/7 hour help line.”
A big misconception about domestic violence is that it only affects certain people, said Valamores.
“Domestic violence affects at least one of every four women, not to mention their children,” Valamores said. “This is a huge public issue. It affects and involves people of all ethnicities, income, education levels.”
Written by: Yan Yan Hustis Hayes — firstname.lastname@example.org