Community Report: Tahoe Women’s Services |

Community Report: Tahoe Women’s Services

Juan Ospina
Tahoe Women Services
Special to the Sun

As civilized and educated as we think we are, and as much as we think we are a developed nation, we still live under the shadow of domestic violence (DV).

In the 1970s, California began a movement to tackle the problem of DV. The term domestic violence lends itself to a common misconception; it is no longer limited to the privacy of our homes and family life, but is a reality encountered out side of the home as well. The good news is that progress has continued since the 1970s, thanks in part to various changes in legislation and to Prevention Programs, like the one at Tahoe Womenand#8217;s Services, which have served as eye openers to thousands of people. The bad news is we still cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I was privileged to attend the Ending Violence Against Women Forum, held in Sacramento on June 17-18, and was pleasantly surprised to see I was not the only male there. In fact, men are now integral members of the staff at several Prevention Programs in northern California. This fills me with a great deal of hope because I see men acknowledging DV as a problem and stepping up to do something about it.

Legislation must go hand in hand with the allocation of funds to the prevention of DV. If we were able to invest $1 on prevention, we would see returns of $5.60 within five years, which translates into $1 million invested, $5.6 million gained. All thanks to prevention.

If we were to take a look at health and quality-of-life issues, we would see a change of attitude toward the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, a drop in cases of child prostitution, diminished use of pornography and its impact on children, prevention of chronic diseases, an increase in self esteem in children and an end to the cycle of violence; lives changed for the better.

Prevention Programs, as they stand, help put an end to related issues such as teen violence, teen pregnancy, cutting classes, teen rape, muggings, runaways and drug use. The greater we can increase these programs, we ultimately would have a greener world; greener because we are planting good seeds for our childrenand#8217;s future.

We must stop disrespectful and aggressive behavior toward women. If we see an offensive advertisement at a local store, ask them to change it. One of the speakers at the convention mentioned a card that read something like: and#8220;Your ad is very offensive, I would prefer if youand#8217;d changed it, but if you donand#8217;t, I will take my business somewhere else and tell my friends.and#8221; This tactic worked at local stores and also chain stores.

Bottom line; to have a greener planet, we must be involved in our childrenand#8217;s lives and have Violence Prevention Programs to protect them.

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