Fiona Ma Joins Survivors of Domestic Violence to Launch Domestic Violence Awareness Month

San Francisco – On Wednesday, October 4, Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA will be joined by Every 9 Seconds, a nonprofit organization for abused women, and Willpowered Woman, a nonprofit that assists women affected by intimate partner abuse and provides prevention education, to launch Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“We need to listen and understand the stories of domestic violence survivors so we can create change for the future. Protecting our most vulnerable citizens while holding the perpetrators of these vicious acts of violence and abuse should be one of our top priorities. We must never forget, and I will continue standing up for survivors by raising awareness of domestic violence,” said Board Member Ma. 

Wednesday’s event will also feature a Silent Witness display as part of the Silent Witness National Initiative to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence. The display will be available at the event and then moved to the San Francisco District Office at 455 Golden Gate Avenue for the remainder of the month.

Event details:
What:                Take Action: Create Social Change
Where:              Eco-Systm at 540 Howard Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, 94105
Time:                Wednesday, October 4th from 6:30-8:30 pm
Who:                 Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA
                          Caitlin D’Aprano, CEO and Founder of Willpower Woman
                          Crystal Wheeler, Executive Director of Every 9 Seconds
Visuals:            Red silent witness silhouettes with personal stories of domestic violence victims

Crystal Wheeler, Executive Director of Every 9 Seconds, is a survivor of domestic violence and will speak at the event. Crystal was choked, beaten, tormented, and isolated by a violent husband who forced her to quit her job as a training law enforcement officer. One night she fatally fought back, which lead to her serving 22 years in prison, simply for defending herself.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 32.9% of women and 27.3% of men in California experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) reports that nearly one-third of all women murdered in the United States in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner.

A 2013 survey by NNEDV of domestic violence programs across the nation reported that 9,641 requests for services by those in need went unanswered. With many support organizations lacking sufficient funding to provide enough services for those in need, it is critical that these organizations have the resources they need to keep people safe and break the cycle of violence.

Last year, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1399 (Baker), a bill supported by Board Member Ma, which created a checkoff box on California personal income tax return forms to allow Californians to donate to the newly created Domestic Violence Victims Fund. Domestic violence shelters are able to apply for a grant from the new fund, administered by the California Office of Emergency Services, to help provide critical services to victims. From January to August of 2017, the fund has had more than $130,000 in contributions.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, participants are asked to wear purple to raise awareness for domestic violence prevention. A vital resource for someone experiencing domestic violence is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Highly trained advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).