Monday, December 10, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 40
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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on October 3rd, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 31 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 31

Spotlight on: Domestic Violence Solutions

Julia Black, communications

By Spencer Cole

For more than 40 years, Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) has provided resources for Santa Barbara County families in need of protection from abusive spouses. 

The nonprofit is the area's sole full-service operator with 24-hour emergency shelter and services for domestic violence victims. DVS currently manages three shelters in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Lompoc. The organization additionally runs a transitional living facility for families in need of a more permanent location. 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and DVS plans to hold three candlelight vigils to commemorate it. 

"They're a great way to bring the community together to raise awareness," said Julia Black, who does communications and marketing for the nonprofit. "We get some passersby that have no idea about what's going on and then we have a chance to educate them." 

Black told the Sun one of the biggest misconceptions about the issue was just how widespread and common the problem is. 

"It doesn't discriminate, and it happens over all income levels and all genders," she said. "There's also still kind of this thought that what happens in the home needs to stay in the home, but it needs to be talked about. It's everywhere. There's so many more cases that we just don't even know about because people aren't talking." 


RAISING AWARENESS
Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) will hold three candlelight vigils in Santa Barbara County during October in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The vigils are scheduled for Oct. 11 in Lompoc, Oct. 18 in Santa Maria, and Oct. 25 in Santa Barbara.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SOLUTIONS

The first vigil will be held Thursday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. in Lompoc at Civic Center Plaza. A second vigil is set for the following Thursday, Oct. 18, in Santa Maria at Ethel Pope Auditorium (Santa Maria High School). A memorial walk starting at City Hall at 6 p.m. will precede the vigil at 6:30 p.m. The last event is Thursday, Oct. 25, in Santa Barbara at Paseo Nuevo Mall. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be a victim of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

"Domestic violence knows no boundaries," DVS Executive Director Jan Campbell said. "It can happen to anyone, anywhere. You may not be aware that your neighbor, or a coworker you see every day, is in an abusive relationship."

In 2017, four people died due to domestic violence in Santa Barbara County. This year, that number is zero, according to DVS, which tracks reportable incidents in the jurisdiction. 

"So far, we're doing better," Black said of the drop in fatalities. 

While allowing that barely a year's worth of data is hardly a reason to celebrate, Black noted that expanded outreach and education about the many different forms of domestic abuse was important in helping the public identify it, report it, and when possible, prevent it. 

"Domestic violence can be stalking, excessive yelling or swearing, financial abuse like not letting a partner have a job or force them to be the sole provider," she explained. "There's legal abuse, they can threaten to tell ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] or police that their spouse is not a legal citizen. There's so many aspects that aren't just physical abuse."

Black told the Sun that's why the vigils are so important, because they're both a chance to call for healing and educate the public, while also honoring those who experience abuse every day and those who've died at the hands of an abuser. 

"We try to remember and honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence," she added, "that in itself is extremely impactful." 

Call the hotline
Domestic Violence Solutions has four separate 24-crisis hotlines for Santa Barbara County: Santa Barbara (805) 964-5245; Lompoc (805) 736-0965; Santa Maria (805) 925-2160; and Santa Ynez Valley (805) 686-4390.

Highlights: 

• The Santa Maria Town Center has a new owner. Global insurance company SMTC Acquisition purchased the property from Ergs II Reo Owner (a Texas-based firm and subsidiary of Goldman Sachs) for $21.5 million. The mall has been for sale since 2015. Sears, Macy's, and the city-owned multi-level parking structure next to the center, were not part of the sale. The buyer behind SMTC Acquisition was asked by the seller to not be identified, and told Santa Maria city officials it planned to hold holiday-themed events in the coming months, according to City Councilmember Etta Waterfield.

• Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Santa Maria Fairpark. Donations for the event are now being accepted every Wednesday leading up to the event (Oct. 10 and Oct. 17) between noon and 2 p.m. at the fairpark. The Lompoc Valley and the Santa Maria Valley chambers of commerce will both serve as collection sites during business hours as well. Specific needs for the veterans include: new bath towels (not beach towels); wash cloths; blankets; toothbrushes and toothpaste; new men's and women's T-shirts; underwear; shoes; baby diapers; small size shampoo; bar soap; and hangers. Also needed are wet and dry cat and dog food, nylon buckle collars, and 6-foot-long leashes. μ

Staff Writer Spencer Cole wrote this week's Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at spotlight@santamariasun.com.




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