Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 11, 2019
Help is Available for Victims of Sexual Assault
and Domestic Violence in Ventura County
Our speaker on Monday, February 11, Caroline Prijatel-Sutton brought both sobering and helpful news to her presentation to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, February 11. The sobering news? Domestic violence and sexual assault are on the rise in Ventura COunty. The helpful news? Victims of these crimes have dedicated resources for assistance, available 24/7.
Caroline is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Family Harmony, an Oxnard-based agency that maintains a rape crisis center and a domestic violence safe house, together with a wealth of resources to aid victims. Included in her presentation was a brief video entitled, "You Are Not Alone," four little words that can mean the world to someone facing the trauma of sexual or domestic violence.
Trained advocates are available to provide counseling, and the Coalition has attorneys who provide pro bono legal advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "These crimes are very isolating," said Caroline, "and our staff members are there to make sure the victims know they are not alone. There are people on their side."
Caroline explained the triggers and causes of sexual/domestic violence. Some is societal, some is "ancestral," meaning that abusive behavior is often modeled by those who have experienced it themselves earlier in life. There are cycles and patterns that, if unbroken, can persist for months or even years, leading to repeated abuse. And it's not just a women's problem; Caroline noted that men can be victims as well.
At present, the Coalition's work is 80% intervention and 20% prevention, the latter mainly through education. "Our goal is to reverse those percentages," said Caroline.
For more information, visit the Coalition's website. If you need help, or know someone who does, the 24-hour bilingual helpline number is (800) 300-2181.