O.J. Simpson was released from prison on Oct.1, 2017 after serving a nine-year sentence for kidnapping and armed robbery. His release triggered the memory of the now-infamous trial where he was found not guilty for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
Most of us over the age of 40 can recall the entire trial, including the chilling words in the released 9-1-1 call from Nicole and the painful reminder that domestic violence is much more than an argument between two people.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was created 30 years ago in October to start conversations about a taboo topic and to honor survivors for whom domestic violence was and still is an everyday reality.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship and includes intimidation, threats, and mind games – often just as powerful as a clenched fist.
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Marjaree Mason was a young Fresno County woman murdered by a former boyfriend in 1978. However, she was not a battered woman. Her tragedy was the result of a jealous ex-boyfriend who refused to accept her rejection.
Unfortunately, domestic violence happens every day, in every sector of our society.
Sadly, 1 in 4 women, 1 in 7 men and 1 in 3 teens will be affected by abuse from an intimate partner.
Marjaree Mason’s legacy lives on in the daily actions the center takes to ensure others do not suffer the same fate.
Last year, the Marjaree Mason Center served over 5,700 adults and children affected by domestic violence. It is the only dedicated provider of comprehensive domestic violence safe housing and support services in Fresno County and the Fresno Safe House is the largest single safe house in the state of California.
Through 24/7 crisis intervention, safe housing, counseling, legal support, and training and education programs, the Marjaree Mason Center is truly striving to break the cycle of abuse.
We can’t do it alone. It takes $16,887 per day to keep our doors open to people in need of safety and resources. It costs $168 per day to house a family, and on average, that family is a mother and two children who will stay with us for 31 days.
Domestic violence will not disappear on its own. We all have the power to make a change. Speak up. Seek help. Support the cause.
To learn more about our efforts to stop the cycle of domestic violence and how you can get involved, please contact the Marjaree Mason Center office at 559.237.4706 or visit us online at mmcenter.org. Our 24/7 confidential hotline is 559-233-HELP (4357).
Nicole Linder is executive director of the Marjaree Mason Center. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.