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Women’s shelter educates on domestic violence at CSULB

Students and survivors learn how to implement survival tactics against domestic abuse.

Doyle McKinney, Contributing Writer

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Domestic abuse can intimidate and immobilize victims, and students attending a recent forum in the University Student Union at Cal State Long Beach were privy to a plethora of techniques to regain and maintain an edge in the fight against domestic violence and abuse Thursday night. Self-defense training and resources for survivors were offered in an atmosphere of support and non-judgmental advocacy assistance centers.

The event featured Women’s Shelter of Long Beach, a domestic violence agency that provides a multitude of services including: emergency shelter, resource violence center, case management, support groups, nutrition, general education and much more, all free to clients.

According to WSLB, domestic violence has increased on college campuses nationally in proportion to the increase in the general population.

The WSLB has a division called the Violence Resource Center that offers parenting, life and self-esteem skills training and helps clients to restructure their lives and navigate a return to self-sufficiency.

Associate Director of WSLB Tatiana Dorman said that one-third of all women murdered in the U.S. are murdered by a domestic partner. Dorman stated that in 2015, 1,200 women were murdered in domestic violence cases, and one million children in California are exposed to domestic violence daily.

“Abuse is emotional, mental, physical and financial,” Dorman said. “Abuse is not exclusively focused on women; men are also victims.”

Clients are typically told that they have no rights, according to Dorman, which paralyzes their initial efforts to recover.

“We try to educate clients and work with the legal support program to educate them about their legal rights,” CSULB alumna and associate outreach organizer Alexis Sandoval said.

Clients are taught to identify the dynamics of domestic abuse, according to Dorman. Through overall comprehensive intervention and one-on-one case management, success is achieved by creating pathways to results for clients to reclaim their lives and live free of violence and abuse.

Sandoval said their emergency shelter is confidential, but is located in Long Beach and provides a safe place for survivors as well as services for members of the LGBTQ community.

Immigrant and abuse survivor Ellis Sanchez held the audience’s attention with his story of abuse by his father, who was an alcoholic and a drug addict afflicted with bipolar disorder. He shared how WSLB saved the lives of his mother, sister and himself after his father’s attempt of a murder-suicide.  

“We need conversation to combat domestic violence,” he said.

According to the Cal State Long Beach University Police Department, 1 in 3 women will be sexually abused, 1 in 4 will be sexually abused before age eighteen, 1 in 7 men will be sexually abused, and every two minutes in the US, a sexual assault occurs. Many victims refuse outright to report or press charges for a host of reasons.

Some organizations do not offer across the board services to ensure that clients are able to get away from their abuser, and in some cases, possible relapses or a return are possible.

Half a million cases of domestic violence occur annually in California, said Dorman. The center helps clients with legal advocacy, court dates, police reports and more, and reaches 3,500 individually annually through outreach.

“There is enormous need for victim services,” Sandoval said.

The initial stay for the WSLB is 30-45 days at the emergency shelter, according to Sandoval. She helps clients with their court dates, helps organize their schedules and educates them about legal options, including police reports.

Health referrals and nutrition education are also provided along with a safety plan.

“One of the biggest things is making sure that they are safe,” said Dorman, who also discussed the benefits of their crisis hotline and bilingual services.

UPD officials advocated for Rape Aggression Defense training that the UPD offers each semester to teach self-defense to women.

“We must raise awareness and protect ourselves as women,” said Allison Joy, assistant emergency manager with UPD.

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