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September 20, 2011 > Come to breakfast and open your eyes

Come to breakfast and open your eyes

In the past, domestic abuse and violence was considered a family affair, private and removed from societal pressure. Victims were often afraid to complain or respond and law enforcement was stymied by inadequate laws. Times have changed - at least in this country - and organizations such as Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) provide a safety net for women (and surprisingly, men too) who find themselves and their families in physical and emotional danger. The challenge of finding solutions through decisive action and education to end a cycle of violence is a continuing process that cannot waiver.

Although we want to believe that our society is "enlightened" when considering the roles of men and women, old myths of dominance and abusive behavior remain as boys and girls grow into men and women. The roles of each sex may be wrapped in seemingly innocuous nursery rhymes or stories, but often these simplistic "truths" contain the seeds of frightening statistics separating humanity into warring camps. Often women bear the brunt of this hypocritical relationship and in some societies, abusive relationships are openly condoned under the guise of spousal protection. SAVE says this is not okay.

Since 1976, SAVE has been ready to help those in need. Often behind the scenes and with little fanfare or publicity, this organization has provided counseling, support services and a haven from domestic violence. Incidents of battering are a result of many factors, but the current economic stress on our local and national economy is a significant contributing factor. Compounding the problem, funding has been severely reduced while the need for help expands. Reliance on community support has become more critical than ever. SAVE Executive Director Rodney Clark says that the challenge of providing services is especially difficult these days because, as with many social support organizations, "We are being asked to do more with less." As an example, attendance at support groups is growing dramatically, yet financial resources are diminishing.

Each year, SAVE hosts a breakfast 'Eye Opener' which informs the community of the services and support offered in practical terms. A featured speaker will relate her first-hand experience, demonstrating the real world effects of SAVE. Not only does domestic violence incapacitate a spouse or domestic partner who may be the direct target of abuse, but the impact on children - emotional, physiological, cognitive and social development - is devastating as well. Each year, the annual breakfast reminds the community that not only does SAVE respond to immediate problems of domestic violence, but it provides compassionate solutions and realistic alternatives for victims so they can move on to a safe and productive future. Sybil Smith, will also speak about her role with SAVE as a volunteer to accompany women who face the often frightening experience of a court appearance to obtain restraining orders and other legal safeguards.

SAVE's mission is clear. The health of every community relies on the economic and emotional stability of its citizens. SAVE provides a critical safety net of resources that must continue throughout the year to assure those in need that our society values human resources; everyone is entitled to a humane and compassionate response in a time of need. Domestic violence is not acceptable and organizations such as SAVE are the result of a commitment by our community to affirm this belief. Support SAVE - come to breakfast and open your eyes!

Breakfast Eye Opener: Open Your Eyes to the Truth about Abuse
Friday, Sept 30
7:30 to 9:00 a.m. (Registration begins at 7:00 am)
Hilton Newark/Fremont
39900 Balentine Drive, Newark
(510) 574-2250
www.save-dv.org

$40 per person

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