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Event Targets Violence in Relationships

October 27, 1998|JASON KANDEL

Mary, the mother of two children, endured 15 years of beatings by her husband. But when he threatened to slit her throat one day, she knew she had to get out.

"I was desperate," said Mary, who spoke at a domestic violence awareness event Monday on the condition that her last name be withheld. "My kids and I had no place to go."

The event, in front of the Hall of Administration in Santa Ana, drew about 65 women, children and fathers. The event, sponsored by the Eli Home, a domestic violence and child abuse shelter based in Anaheim Hills, addressed ways in which victims of abuse can change their lives. The theme: "Empowerment Through Involvement."

"We want to help victims of violence understand how they can effect positive changes," said Eli Home program director Kimberlee White.

In the United States, a woman is physically abused every nine seconds and two-thirds of those attacks are committed by someone the victim knows, often a husband or boyfriend, White said. About 36,808 cases of child abuse were reported in Orange County in 1997.

Before the event, while mothers chatted, children ran around on the grass and inside the Hall of Administration. Just before the talk was set to begin, children hoisted signs over their shoulders reading, "We Will Make a Difference, Our Voice Counts."

"One of the most difficult things is getting out of the relationship," said Lorri Galloway, Eli Home executive director. "You have to truly make a decision to want to change the situation, if not for yourself, then for your children."

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