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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 2:30 pm | Fair 63º


Domestic Violence Solutions Holds High Esteem Tea to Raise Funds, Awareness

Incident involving the NFL's Ray Rice provides a timely example as guest speaker Jackson Katz discusses the Mentors in Violence Prevention program

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Now in its seventh year, the Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County High Esteem Tea brought a range of guests together at the Bacara Resort & Spa for a light lunch to observe October as Domestic Violence Month and to pay tribute to victims and raise money for this important cause.

This year's impactful guest speaker, Jackson Katz, was not only appropriate for recent events in the NFL concerning Ray Rice and domestic abuse, but the Sunday event also coincided with the regular slate of scheduled football games played each weekend.

“On Feb. 15, 2014, the same day as Ray Rice’s assault, there were more than 32,000 instances of abuse,” event committee co-chair Claudette Roehrig said. “In most cases, a video doesn’t exist, and it shouldn’t need to!”

Katz is the author of The Macho Paradox and creator of the films Tough Guise and Tough Guise 2, and he spoke prolifically about the influential Mentors in Violence Prevention “bystander” program that he co-founded. MVP has been implemented in all branches of the military and is the most utilized sexual and domestic violence prevention initiative in college and professional athletics in North America.

A cultural theorist, educator, filmmaker and author, Katz has a master's degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from UCLA, and was the first man to earn a minor in women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

“Domestic violence encompasses sexual, emotional, psychological, economic and physical abuse,” Roehrig said. “It is an intentional act that is learned and used as a means of maintaining power and control over another.”

Roehrig introduced the special guests, including The Fund for Santa Barbara Executive Director Geoff Green, who issued a call for support.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, was also present at the Bacara event. Jackson authored a bill, SB 400, to provide employment protections to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. SB 400 makes it unlawful for an employer to terminate or otherwise discriminate against an employee based on his or her known status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The law also entitles victims to reasonable safety accommodations at the workplace, and other states have enacted similar employment protections for victims, including Hawaii, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois and Puerto Rico.

DVS is the only full-service nonprofit agency in Santa Barbara County focused solely on ending the cycle of domestic violence by providing confidential shelter to women and children, personal counseling and a 24-hour crisis hot line.

Associate Executive Director Marsha Marcoe shared her enthusiasm for the organization and offered words of support to the women and men who have made the DVS Springtime events a success, working selflessly in fundraising for programs benefiting children and women fleeing from violence.

“Fourteen years ago, a fundraising auxiliary for Domestic Violence Solutions was born,” Marcoe said. “During those 14 years, the Springtime Committee raised close to $2 million and awareness of domestic violence at the Springtime gala signature events.”

The emotions of the impactful words from Katz and the importance of the afternoon were encapsulated in the words of Roehrig.

“When we don’t speak out against domestic violence, we allow it to continue,” Roehrig said. “For all of us, let’s take a moment to be part of the change. Together we can end violence — if not now, when?”

Take a step to end domestic violence with family, friends and co-workers at the inaugural 5K Run for Love supporting DVS on Nov. 1, meeting at Goleta Beach with a 9 a.m. start time. Every participant supports victims with the $35 registration fee to help end abuse.

For donation and giving information, visit the website by clicking here, or contact Marsha Marcoe at [email protected] or 805.963.4458.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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